• January 25, 2017

    January Round Up

    OOoooh man.  This month isn’t over yet?  Really?  Still going for about one more week, eh?

    I’m pretty darn over it.

    First of all: the snow.  Good gracious God in heaven, the snow.  This January we’ve broken records with the snow.  Now, I am a mountain girl and totally ok with snow and all that…. But this city of mine ain’t really ready to deal with what Mother Nature is layin’ down!  I actually shoveled the street in front of my house a couple weeks ago.  Yes, you read that right, I shoveled the street.  Frankly, there were no other options besides staying home for all of January.  So. Yeah.

    You’d think with all that snow, I would have had lots of time to read lots of books.  Joke’s on you though, because I was shoveling all that snow in my street instead of reading.  For January, I was only able to just keep up with my book club requirements with A Day of Honey by Annia Ciazadlo and Gulp by Mary Roach.  I enjoyed A Day of Honey, but I really loved Gulp.  She is super provocative and sarcastic – it actually made me think about Jenny Lawson’s books a lot.  Can’t wait to see what the other ladies at book club think about it!

    There were a couple of new (well, new and new to me) shows I have been enjoying.  The first was A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix.  Can I just say that Neil Patrick Harris is a genius?  And that I love him?  It. Is. So. Good.  The second show I’ve been obsessing over is Jane the Virgin, which I never thought I’d say.  Actually, I never thought I’d watch it, let alone love it.  For those skeptics like I once was… just give it a try.  It’s way too complicated to really explain here, but it’s basically an Americanized telenovela with all the drama you’d expect, but also with lots of great humor to balance it out.  Please, just go watch a few episodes, ok?  Ok.

    This month we are also starting up a new D&D campaign, so I’ve been doing some character building.  I’ll be playing a gnome wizard named Moonie Mugglewump and I’m really excited about her!  Think, Luna from Harry Potter mixed with Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles and a bit of Judy Hopps from Zootopia.  Fun, right?  First game is this weekend, so we’ll see how I get back in the swing of it all!

    Aaaand the last thing I have to share with you for January is that I’ve started a Bullet Journal.  I’ll do another more detailed post sometime about bullet journaling, but suffice it to say that I like the layout options and tracking method a lot so far.  I have been enjoying the creative aspects and also use it to help with mindfulness.  I am not a great artist, but there is hope, I think, for me yet!

    So, there you have it.  This was my… interesting… January (sans political issues/concerns/ fears/hopes/whatever because this should be a happy place for me and for anyone out there who is reading).  Here’s hoping that February will have better surprises in store!

  • January 11, 2017

    Books of 2016

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    If you’ve been reading the Bliggity Blog for awhile, you will know that a couple of years ago I challenged myself to read a book with a title from every letter of the alphabet.  Well, 2016 is the year I finally finished the challenge!  The last few letters were:

    E – Every Last Tie by David Kaczynski

    N – Name of the Wind (Kingkiller #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

    R – Reading Lolitta in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

    T – Ten Days in a Mad House by Nellie Bly

    V – Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig

    X – X-it by Jane George

    Once the challenge was complete, I kinda went to town with all the books I’ve been hanging on to as well as a bunch of books for book club!  I’ve really enjoyed having a group to read and discuss books with – it’s been really wonderful and I’m tempted to join another (goodness… would I have time?  Maybe a YA lit group?).  Anyway, in the past, I’ve always given a synopsis or review of the books I read, but this year there are just too many.  I enjoyed most of these books, though, and would recommend them all to the right reader!  :)

    Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    You’re Never Weird on the Internet  (Almost) by Felicia Day

    An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Alder

    Push by Sapphire

    Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

    The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

    As Always, Julia edited by Joan Reardon

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

    A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

    The Rat Queens

    Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya van Bremzen

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

    Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

    Stir by Jessica Fechtor

    I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

    Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

    Buffering by Hannah Hart

    Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

    Currently, I am reading A Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo for book club and it’s been really good.  I’ll continue to keep record and share with you how things are going and what I’m new things I’m finding!  Right  now, I am on track for my goal of reading 30 books in the year before I turn 30!  :)

  • November 30, 2016

    November Round Up

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    Ok, ya’ll, I am not gonna lie.  I am sooo tired right now!  November is kicking my tush this year with the stuff and the friends and the other stuff and everything.  Ugh!  I suppose it’s really a good thing that I’m tired, though, because it means that I’ve been busy.  I’ve spent time with friends and family.  I’ve gone out and stayed in and started some fun projects!  So, despite my tiredness (and lame-o lack of pictures), I want to share my November with you!

    The month started out very stressful and mentally/emotionally exhausting with the elections and news and everything that went with it.  I was convinced that the world was going to end no matter who won and who would be there to pick it all up and put it back together again?  *sigh*  I certainly don’t feel good about what happened and I am not in any way comfortable going forward… but I think I’ve moved from depression into the acceptance part of the grief stages.  It’s a wary and tired and sad acceptance and in no way means that I accept the bad and terrible things that will come from this decision… but it’s a place where I can at least stop thinking about it for a little while and feel ok.

    To distract myself from the pain and fear, I read a lot this month.  And I read a lot about amazing, powerhouse women (weather they would agree with me on that assertion or not, I don’t know).  The first book was  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  That woman… dang.  Talk about an inspiring message that taught me that even little girls can make a difference in the face of terror.  No matter how insignificant you think you might be, Malala teaches us that you can be so much more.  Oh, God, how appropriate.  The second book was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.  Aside from the rich and famous aspects of her life, I actually found that I identify a lot with Shonda.  Introverted, unsure, and just brave enough to try to do better, Shonda spoke right to my dorky little heart.  And the last book I read in November was Buffering by Hannah Hart.  I had no idea how deep her hurts and struggles ran.  She talks in her YouTube videos from time to time about not being accepted by her super religious father, but there is so much more.  Ugh.  And yet, Hannah is giving and cheerful.  She has moved past her past and intentionally works to make the world a better place.  Seeing a theme here yet?  *grin*

    Let’s move on now to some more powerhouse women that I spent time with this month.  Hubby and I went to see Moana in theaters on Thanksgiving day.  It was so good!  Such a beautiful message of self discovery and following your passions!  I wish I’d had more role models like her when I was a little girl!  Not only was the story great, but the animation and art were gorgeous too!  Love, love, love!  And my TV pick for the month was Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  I loved the show when I watched it start to end in my early 20′s and I loved the revisiting of all the characters now!  I know it wasn’t a perfect telling, but I really liked to see where everyone ended up, even in their imperfections.  Grief can do that, you know?  Throw you off track until you feel like you’re drifting and struggling to find your way back… so. good.

    Moving on to more traditional things now, we’ve entered the holiday season of 2016.  Thanksgiving was sort of uneventful for my family.  Hubby and I went to see Moana and ate tacos on Thanksgiving day.  We went over the weekend for a slightly more traditional meal with my parents which was very nice.  Nobody talked about politics (not once!) and it was actually quite relaxing.  Yay!  And in the midst of all of this, I also started decorating for Christmas and started several Christmas crafts.  I love Christmas and my darling hubby indulges me by helping put up decor and letting me take over the house with craft supplies.  It’s wonderful.  I can’t say too much, though, because I want to devote more time and focus to it in some posts next month (so stay tuned!).

    And now, I fear, this wall of text will drive you all away!  Please don’t go!  Or, at least, don’t be afraid to come back!  Hopefully I will be able to share more pictures and such next time.

    Happy Holidays!

  • August 31, 2016

    August Round Up

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    Ok, friends, I am going to try something new!  I’ve been thinking lately that there are often things each month that I’d love to share with ya’ll, but that defiantly don’t warrant an entire post to themselves, you know?  So, at the end of each month I will pull together a little round up of experiences I had during that month to share with you!  Hopefully I have enough interesting things each month to keep this going… ha!

     

    Books

    August was a super busy reading month!  I recently starting going to a book club at the local co-op (we read food and cooking themes) and the book for this month was As Always, Julia.  I really struggled through this book and couldn’t actually finish it – Julia Child seemed like a marvelous woman, but her friend Avis drove me up the wall!  She seemed so superficial and uppity – I couldn’t handle it.  *sigh*  Have no fear, though, I filled the rest of my time with some really fun YA: Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children and A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning.  They were both pretty quick reads, but very entertaining.  I’m really looking forward to the move and Netflix series (respectively) which is really what gave me the final kick in the pants to read these books.  *grin*  The last book in August is Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking which is the book club book for September – so far so good!

     

    Stranger-Things

    When I wasn’t reading in August, I was watching Stranger Things on Netflix.  There has been lots and lots of praise for this all across the internet and for good reason – Stranger Things hit me right in the nostalgia feel-goods and I LOVE IT.  I totally relate to those little boys – opening with D&D in the basement… you guys… that was me!  So,  why isn’t there more?  Why?!  Whyyyy?!?!  *Sigh*  I can’t wait until the next season comes out and I can’t encourage you enough to watch it if you haven’t!

     

    Kubo

    The only movie we went out to see this month was Kubo & the Two Strings and it was AMAZING!  Wow.  I mean, the style was so beautiful and matched the feel of story perfectly.  I have a soft spot in my heart for stop-animation anyway, but this film really was beautiful.  I don’t want to give the story away, so please just promise me you will go see it!

    I’ve also spent some time (probably more than I should have… but we won’t talk about that) dining around on YouTube.  I’ve been watching Carrie Hope Fletcher’s channel (It’s Way Past My Bedtime) for a while now, but her recent video, The Little Things, really struck a chord with me.  I love what she has to say and think more of us need to hear her message.  Please take a minute to think about her video.

    I’ve also discovered a new favorite in Peter Hollens and really love his music!  So many beautiful renditions of songs I really love, and everything is done acapella!  It’s really pretty amazing what he can do!  Enjoy:

    Some other sort of miscellaneous things I enjoyed this month were: the Plant Nanny app to help me track my water intake, Iced Chai because it’s still freaking hot, my first Escape Room experience, and our local Library Comic Con which was small, but really well done!

    Whew, what a busy month!  It’s been a crazy end to the summer, but it’s been a good one!  There’s good things on the way and I am so excited to share with you everything this fall has in store!

  • February 3, 2016

    Lent: 40 Days and 40 Nights

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    Can I be really honest and serious for a minute?  I’m struggling.  I mean, for the most part, things in my life are great.  I have family and friends who care about me, a nice home and plenty of stuff to fill it up with.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that my spiritual self is feeling pretty lost and lonely these days.  I’ve drifted away from my faith and don’t have a clear path back.

    Here’s the thing, I believe in God, but have little confidence in churches as they (in my experience over and over and over again) currently exist with so much focus on the negative and nitpicky details, exclusionary behaviors, and political leanings.  I believe in salvation through Christ, but can’t stand the behavior and beliefs of the extremely vocal (hopefully) minority in America whose outspokenness has alienated not only those who don’t believe, but many, many followers of Christ as well.  I don’t want to be associated with people who use the Bible as a weapon to hurt and shame people or a soapbox to stand upon and to hurl their bigotry and hate from.

    That is not my faith.  That is not my Bible.  That is not my God.

    Because of a combination of these problems and many personal hurts and wrongs from the Church, I have not had my butt in a pew in a very long time.  For a while it felt fine because Hubby and I had a regular Bible Study with friends that kept us connected to God and allowed for questioning, conversation, and learning that is impossible to fully achieve on one’s own.  As all good things do, though, this too fell apart and left me on my own to maintain my relationship with God and continue to learn what I could.  You can guess how successful that was.

    So, now, looking at the season of Lent that is before us I wonder what I can do to bring myself close to God again.  How do I cultivate my faith with no leader and no others with a commitment to study or pray or learn other than myself?

    I don’t know.

    I do have an idea, though, that I hope will be a good place to start.  I found this book, 40 Days and 40 Nights by Ilene Segalove, that is intended as a journal guiding the reader on taking time out of each day (for 40 days) to focus on self-discovery.  It’s set up in such a way that you choose your own intent – love, relationships, career, religion, etc – before starting and let that focus area color your responses to each journal prompt.

    Book-Pages

    So, this is where I begin.  Starting next week until Easter, I will not be giving up things so much as adding to them.  I will follow the daily journal prompts and try to open my mind to God’s plan for me.  Perhaps by the end of it all, I will have either built such a routine that I am able to study on my own, or I will find others to study and share encouragement with.

  • January 13, 2016

    Books of 2015

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    In 2014, I challenged myself to read a book with a title from every letter in the alphabet.  I wasn’t able to complete that challenge in 2014, so I continued it in 2015 (and will finish up in 2016).  Jeeze, I feel like I’m a really slow reader!  I think part of it is that I’ve read all of the Game of Thrones books in the last two years, and those books take forever to get through!  So don’t blame me, blame George RR Martin!  ha!

    Anyway, at the end of 2014, I had read letters A, B, C, F, G, H, I, K, O, and S.  In 2015, I read letters D, F (yes, again), J, L, M, P, Q, U, W, Y, and Z:

    Feast-for-Crows

    Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

     

     

    Dance-with-Dragons

    Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

     

     

    The-Joy-Luck-Club

    Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

     

     

    The-Lovely-Bones

    Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

     

     

    Me-Talk-Pretty-One-Day

    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

     

     

    Paper-Towns

    Paper Towns by John Green

     

     

    Quiet

    Quiet by Susan Cain

     

     

    Under-the-Udala-Trees

    Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

     

     

    Wild

    Wild by Cheryl Strayed

     

     

    Yes-Please

    Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

     

     

    Zel

    Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

     

     

    In 2016, I’ll be looking for titles that start with E, N, R, T, V, and X to complete my reading quest!

  • January 14, 2015

    Books of 2014

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    Last year I challenged myself to read books whose titles start with each letter of the alphabet.  I am a somewhat slow reader, so I never expected to complete 26 books…. but 10 is significantly below my usual number of books in a year!  I’ve done a lot of thinking about that and I think the fact that the Game of Thrones books are all the length of at least 3 regular books should count for something here.  Right?

    *grin*

    Anyway, I think this year has been a pretty good one in terms of reading and feeling challenged overall by what I am reading.  So, without further ado, here is my 2014 reading list:

    An-Abundance-of-Katherines

    A – An Abundance of Katherines

    Not my favorite of John Green’s books, but still worth reading.  I enjoyed the book, but it was definitely a teenybopper book with a whiney protagonist.  I also thought the situation (road trip to get over a dramatic break up turned summer job and living with people they – and their parents – had never met) seemed too far-fetched for me.  Still, if you just accept the story and don’t think about the logistics too much, it was fun to read.

     

    Book-Thief

    B – Book Thief

    Great book!  I haven’t seen the film adaptation yet, but I think I will.  I love that the whole story was written from the perspective of Death.  I have always had an interest in World War 2, but I have never seen the story brought to life quite like this book was able to do.  I definitely felt connected to – and worried for – the “book thief.”

     

    Fault-in-Our-Stars

    F – Fault in Our Stars

    A much better book by John Green; I’ve rarely cried so hard over, well, anything.  The story is a little unbelievable and romanticized, but I don’t think that is a bad thing, here.  John did a great job pulling all the right heartstrings and wrapping it all up in metaphor.  And if you haven’t, see the movie too… they did a great job sticking to the book!

     

    Game-of-Thrones

    G –Game of Thrones

    Clash-of-Kings

    C – Clash of Kings (Game of Thrones 2)

    Storm-of-Swords

    S – Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones 3)

    The Game of Thrones series is amazing and I love it.  I love it so much!  *grin*  For those who are intimidated by the size of the books – don’t be!  They are well written and kept my interest throughout.  If you’ve seen the show, the books are SO worth reading because they go deeper and provide so much more insight into the lives and thoughts of the characters.

     

    Handmaid's-Tale

    H – Handmaids Tale

    I am much less enthusiastic about this one.  Don’t get me wrong, it was decent in its own right, I just don’t usually go for the dystopian/science-fiction genre.  Definitely some interesting perspectives and cautionary themes regarding extremism and religious oppression.

     

    Indian-Killer

    I – Indian Killer

    This book was also not one of my favorite genres, so I think I’m a little less enthusiastic than maybe I should be.  I’ve read Sherman Alexie’s short stories and young adult novels before, so I had something much different in mind when I started reading Indian Killer.  Alexie was clearly very angry when this book was written and most of the focus is on race and feels just too political for my personal taste.  Overall, the story itself was good and the characters were well written and interesting.

     

    Kitchen-House

    K – Kitchen House

    I really liked the Kitchen House.  This is a great historical fiction about a white servant girl who was raised by and works with black slaves on a plantation in the South.  This tugs at some heartstrings and was really hard for me to put down!

     

    Orphan-Train

    O –Orphan Train

    Orphan Train turned out very different than I had expected – and not in a good way.  I’ve read a lot of reviews , and it seems like Orphan Train is one that people either love or hate – very little middle ground here.  The author divides narration between a current day foster child and an orphaned girl from the early 1900′s.  I get the connection she was trying to make, but I feel it was poorly done; I would much rather have read a book about one or the other girls – not both awkwardly mushed together in one book.

     

    On the whole, I would recommend all these books – to the right readers – and genuinely enjoyed most of them myself.  For the coming year, I will continue to read through the alphabet and, with luck, I will actually have all 26 by 2016!

  • July 30, 2014

    Last Time I Cried

    Honestly, I am so not a crier.  I hate crying and don’t usually feel the need to cry.  Usually if I do, I’m either super tired or my body is killing me with hormones.

    Growing up, I was never told not to cry, but there was always the idea floating around that I needed to be strong and Cowboy Up.  The way I see it, ain’t nothing wrong with that.

    But, back to the question at hand.  When was the last time I cried?  The last time I remember crying (the quiet, weeping kind) was when watching The Fault in Our Stars at the theater with my husband.  The last time I remember really crying (the ugly, snot running from your nose, chest heaving kind) was when reading The Fault in Our Stars before seeing it in theaters.

    Damn you, John Green.

  • July 30, 2014

    What Makes Me Feel Better

    What makes me feel better?  In a word: chocolate.

    Also, hugs.  And cuddling.

    I always feel better when I get to read a book I love for hours on end.

    Sometimes all I need to feel better is a silly joke or sweet comment from my husband.

    Maybe a movie marathon if there is time.

    Honestly, it doesn’t usually take much to make me happy or for me to feel better.  Food and good company is usually all it takes.

    What can I say? I’m a simple girl.

    *grin*

  • July 30, 2014

    5 Favorite Blogs

    So many blogs, so much to read, so much to learn, so little time!  Let’s jump right in to this one:

    Epbot 

    OMG.  I am such a little fangirl of this blog!  Jen is amazing in her support of geek culture, women, creativity, and art.  She does monthly art giveaways and features fans from time to time who are doing their part to spread their geekyness all over the world.

    The Bloggess

    You may have seen the book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on bookshelves over the past couple of years.  This blog is from the same author.  I’ve been reading this blog for years and adore Jenny’s sarcastic, creepy, hilarious look at life.  I also love her raw, unyielding, open discussion of mental illness and suicide.

    Geek Mom

    Geek Mom is a great compilation of articles written by real geek moms.  They discuss topics ranging from education to crafts to entertainment, all with geeky pretext.  The ladies who write for Geek Mom are smart and challenge readers to think deeply and do great things.

    Gluten Free Goddess

    This blog is a great cooking blog for people who eat only gluten free foods.  Sometimes her recipes are a little intimidating, but they are always beautiful and I imagine they must be so delicious.  There are so many recipes to try, it’s almost overwhelming!  And when you’re eating gluten free, being overwhelmed by options is a good thing.

    Sawdust and Embryos

    This blog is sweet and honest.  Beth writes about projects, home decor, family, and her own struggle with infertility.  She also shares as her two kiddos grow and develop.  Of course I don’t know these people, but the way she writes, I feel like I do.