Monday, February 22, 2016

Catching Up

Hey guys!

This past week has been a busy one. I worked a few hours with my dad tearing up carpet and a couple extra at my normal job. Every time I sat down to write for the blog nothing seemed to come out. I don't know if it's a type of writers block or what, but my brain is always busy with ideas until I sit down to write. In an attempt to get the juices flowing I thought I'd write about what's been going on lately.

First of all, I am never prepared to tear up carpet. Somehow my body always forgets how difficult the task of carrying carpet rolls seems to be. I almost always strain a muscle, whether it's in my leg or my back or my arm, and I am sure to scratch myself with the edge of a roll at least once. You do what you gotta do.

I watched Jen Campbell's January favorites video last week where she mentioned Our Changing Climate by JacksGap. I somehow missed this video when it was released on Jack's channel so I'm glad she pointed it out. Whatever you believe, the Earth is where we live and we need to start taking care of our home.

One project I've been dutifully working on since last year has been organizing my iTunes library. When my computer crashed I realized my external hard drive was a complete mess. Ever since then I've been slowly chipping away at the unwanted music and unusable files. Last Sunday I was finally able to back up my new iTunes library and it felt a huge weight life off my shoulders. Maybe it seems silly from an outsiders perspective but digital clutter is just as detrimental to productivity as physical clutter. My music is a big part of who I am, so having it a certain way is important to me.

I'm only slightly embarrassed to say I've been obsessively listening to One Direction lately. I blame it on my love for James Corbin and this Carpool Karaoke videos. One Direction music makes for the greatest dance break music. I jump up and down. I whip my hair back and forth. I sing along at the top of my lungs (most likely out of tune). It's wonderful and I don't care that it's cheesy pop music.

Also in an effort to simplify my life I have started to realize that having so many television shows to watch has made me more anxious than excited. I think I've talked about this in the past but feeling behind and knowing I can't watch everything really brings me down. Television is there for entertainment and unless it's your job, watching TV shouldn't be stressful. To relieve some of that stress I've decided to let a few shows go. We'll see what happens but I think it'll be a good change in the end.

Remember that post I wrote about the soft opening of Elsie's cafe? They actually shut down their original location and are moving in with Georgina's. Elsie's will be open Friday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch with the same great menu they served before.

I met a friend for coffee and breakfast on Friday morning. There's not many people I'd meet at 7am on my day off, but she's definitely one of them. I can honestly say I never mind getting up early on days that we meet because catching up with her puts me in such a good mood. She is always busy but she still makes time for me. I'm incredibly grateful for her friendship.

I'm currently suffering through a reading slump at the moment. I've been very critical of books lately and not enjoying or wanting to read anything. Hopefully this goes away soon. Normally I can read right through a slump with no problem but none of my usual cures are working. Anyway I did still manage to read more books than expected in the month of January. Last week I posted a video of January mini reviews and there are more videos coming soon.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Literary Love

This Valentine's Day I thought I'd celebrate by sharing a few of my favorite literary couples (in no particular order).

We'll start with the book that's probably the most unexpected one on the list, The Book Thief. There may not be a specific literary couple that jumps out from this book but the story is without a doubt about love. Familial love (Liesel, Hans, and Rosa), friendships (Liesel and Max), and even a little of the romantic kind (Liesel and Rudy).

I know everyone chooses Elizabeth and Darcy but they're a classic.

Part of me thinks this couple trumps over all the others, Jamie Fraser and Claire Randal from the Outlander series. I'm currently in the middle of Dragonfly in Amber and I never want their love story to end. My love for accents, kilts, and red headed men only continues to grow.

Speaking of time traveling couples who are 1/2 named Claire/Clare; Clare and Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife may be unconventional due to the weird age differences throughout the book, but they still get my vote.

In terms of cheesy/tragic love stories, the couple at the top of the list would have to be Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars. I mean it's two cancer ridden kids falling in love, you know it's going to be tragic and heartbreaking and tear-worthy. I love John Green's writing and there's so many good moments in here. Hazel and Augustus forever.

Celia and Marco from The Night Circus are the ultimate star-crossed lovers (yes, they trump Romeo and Juliet). Their love is so strong it overcomes their doomed fate. Can this book be a movie already? Or a real life circus?

Finally, Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of Green Gables series. Should we talk about what a crush I had on Jonathan Crombie as Gil in the Canadian series growing up? Like hard core crushing it. Anne and Gilbert made a perfect pair even when she didn't know it yet.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday Snowshoe Romp

A couple of weeks ago my dad and I went snowshoeing along the Empire Bluff Trail out in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The sun was out and the air wasn't too cold, so it was a beautiful day for a hike. We weren't the only people who took notice either because there were plenty of other people to talk to along the trail.

Even my two left shoes couldn't get me down. I hadn't been snowshoeing in years and was a little worried the trail would be too much for me. Luckily the path is only about a mile and a half long round trip and nothing too strenuous.

The views along the trail are breathtaking. Sometimes I forget how beautiful the area is since it's so close to home. Part of the reason we wanted to go out was so I could get some practice in with my new Nikon camera. I took a photography class in college using an old film camera but there was a lot of basics that needed refreshing. Unfortunately I had to drop out of digital photography after two weeks due to my workload in other classes that semester. I don't regret that decision because there was no way I could have done everything, but the extra knowledge would come in handy now.

Photo credit to my dad for this one

The sun went away for a bit and these next photos all turned out a little dark but they're also my favorite of the bunch. I was going to edit them but I didn't want to ruin the mood. It was fun to check out all my photos afterwards and try to pick out what was wrong with each one. Being able to identify the problem is the first step right?

I love getting outside and spending time with family. Sometimes it's easy to forget how beautiful nature is, especially the nature in your back yard. People come from all over to see the Sleeping Bear Dunes in the summertime but it's just as beautiful in the winter (and even more so in the fall). I can't wait to get out again.


Monday, February 8, 2016

The 52 Books Challenge 2016

Things I've discovered about myself: I like challenges. 

I may not like set TBR's but having specific goals, like the Around the World in 52 Books reading challenge, is the perfect compromise. I found this challenge via Raeleen at padfoodandprongs07, who made a video recently with her selections. My personal goal for the year is to read more books already on my shelf, so I tried to pick books from that list first. All of the books listed are subject to change. This list is just a starting off point. I don't really expect to get to all of these books in one year, but I'm going to try!

1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't -- The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan *
2. A book set in a different continent -- Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated) -- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins *
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015 -- The Dumb House by John Burnside
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name -- Silver Linings Playbook by Mathew Quick
6. The highest rated on your TBR -- Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
7. A book about books -- The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages -- Candide by Voltaire
9. A book that was mentioned in another book -- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now -- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge -- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
12. A childhood classic -- The BFG by Roald Dahl
13. Reader’s Choice -- Just Kids by Patty Smith
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) -- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago) -- Persuasion by Jane Austen
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels -- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
17. A book with a beautiful cover -- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Vintage Classics Bronte Series edition)
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list -- Bridget Jone's Diary by Helen Fielding
19. A non-fiction book -- Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion 
20. A book with a first name in the title -- Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page -- Fifth Avenue, 5 AM; Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson
22. The first book in a new to you series -- Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 
23. The next book in a series you are reading -- Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.) -- Four by Veronica Roth *
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you -- The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro
26. A book everyone is talking about -- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (a bunch of Youtubers are currently buddy reading this)
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion) -- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir -- Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name -- Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own -- Angela Carter's Book of Fairytales
31. A work of young adult fiction -- Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
32. A historical fiction book -- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
33. The 16th book on your TBR -- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
34. A book about mental illness -- Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan
35. An award winning book -- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation -- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossieni
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read -- The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
38. A book about an anti hero -- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list -- The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Read an Oprah Book Club book)
40. A novella from your favorite genre -- Animal Farm by George Orwell
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction) -- Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
42. A top 100 fantasy novel -- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night -- The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public -- Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (I wouldn't say I'm easily ashamed of reading books in public but this was on one of the lists they suggested)
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have -- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
46. A crime story -- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title -- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
48. A dystopia -- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
49. A book with a great opening line -- 1984 by George Orwell
50. A book originally written in a language other than English -- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
51. A short story from a well-known author -- The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
52. A book published in 2016 -- When We Were Alive by Chelsea Fisher

*Books I've read

Follow me on Goodreads and Youtube to get updates on what I'm reading throughout the year.