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November 2015
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January 2016

The Christmas Quiz

I blatantly and unashamedly stole this quiz from Mary, who got it from Mellificent and Pearl. Enjoy!

1. Do you know what you want for Christmas already?  I would love a new gym bag, as mine has started falling apart. Also, a new stove, and maybe a new coffeemaker. Are those fancy-pants ones that do single serve as well as full pots any good?

2. Have you done any Christmas shopping yet? We don't really do presents at my house, since my mom and I can just buy whatever we need, and also since we're trying to get rid of stuff, we're really trying not to buy any unnecessary items.  
3. Do you like Christmas?  I LOVE Christmas! I love the lights, decorations, and festivities!
4. At whose house will you celebrate this year?  We'll just be staying home this year, enjoying the 3-day weekend in our PJs!
5. Is there someone in your family you are not looking forward to seeing this Christmas? If so who, and why?  We don't really do family get-togethers anymore, but if we did, there's no one I wouldn't love to see.
6. Do you decorate the tree early, or late? This year I got it done early over the Thanksgiving weekend.
7. Do you use tinsel?  In general, no, because tinsel is a pain to deal with, but the artificial tree I purchased has lights and tinsel already on it.
8. Do you own any antique Christmas bulbs?  No, but I wish I did because the ones I've seen are gorgeous!
9. Do you put a star or an angel on the top of your Christmas tree?  I used to use my vintage light-up star, but my new pre-lit tree doesn't have a connector for a lighted tree topper, so I'm using an angel.
10. Do you hang stockings?  I always hang my two stockings, both of which my mom made, every year.
11. Do you drink eggnog?  Yes, I love eggnog, especially with gingerbread cookies!
12. Have you eaten a candy cane this year yet? No, but I've had some Ghirardelli peppermint bark. Does that count?


Friday Five December 18

1.  So this week I wasn't feeling so hot, but I did manage to still get in my two training sessions at Kennedy, so ... go me! I always feel better afterward I exercise (although a bit sore the next day, but it's a good kind of sore!), so don't know why I always drag my feet!

2.  We got another inch of rain this week. Love these little showers!

3. Today was our Annual Toys for Tots and Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at work. I did not wear an ugly sweater because I found this super cute one online from Avenue, and wore it instead. It was a lot of fun, and lots of toys were collected for Toys for Tots!


4.  Did anyone else watch Childhood's End on SyFy this week? Did you love it as much as I did? Because I LOVED it! I'm looking forward to reading the book now, and I think my Classic Books Reading Challenge Theme this coming year will be classic Sci-Fi!

5.  Another great show I enjoyed this week was Survivor. I usually hate when they bring former players back, but this season was actually really, really good! Every week was exciting and the conclusion was satisfying and well deserved. Hope you all have had a great week, and have a terrific weekend. Cheers!


Teaser Tuesday: After Alice by Gregory Maguire


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read.

•Open to a random page.

 •Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. (I tend to go over this limit a LOT!)

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My teaser this week is from After Alice by Gregory Maguire. I really enjoyed his Oz books (Wicked, Son of a Witch, etc.), so I was excited to see he was venturing down the rabbit hole and taking on the Alice in Wonderland stories! Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There are two of my favourite books, and now I feel a need to reread one or both of them after reading After Alice. My teasers come from page 99 on my nook. Enjoy!

Ada said, "I never know where anything begins and ends here. So I don't know quite where I am going. But I am looking for Alice."

What are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments! Also, I'm working up my list of classics to read next year, so look for that coming soon! Cheers!


A Few of My Favourite Things - November 2015

One feature I've been attempting to do on this blog on a monthly basis is my Monthly Favourites, which is basically a list of things such as cosmetics, music, movies, books, food and drink, etc. I particularly enjoyed during that particular month, and wish to share and recommend. I'm not always successful getting this entry written every month (and sometimes a whole month goes by where I really just don't like anything, so there's nothing to write about!), but November was a pretty good month. So, here are a few things I was really enjoying in November:

 1. Thanksgiving dinner! I love the traditional Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes (yams and/or scalloped potatoes), and pumpkin pie! And while I really could make these dishes any time of year, waiting for November makes the meal all the more delicious!. This year I was lazy and bought the stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and scalloped potatoes already prepared in the deli section of my supermarket, and the pie in the frozen section. The only thing I really had to cook was the turkey, and I was lucky enough to find a package of turkey thighs for me, the dark meat lover, and turkey breast tenderloins for my mom, who only eats white meat, so we each got what we wanted, and didn't have a whole lot of stuff left over. Truly, it was a perfect Thanksgiving!  

2. My Retro TV has been airing classic Doctor Who episodes for a while now, and while I've enjoyed getting caught up with Doctor's 1, 2, and 3, now we're into #4's adventure, and I'm so excite because 4 was my very first Doctor! I love them all, but 4 is my fave!

3.  I have been really enjoying the Ready Pac pre made salad bowls. They are perfect to take to work for lunch as everything is premeasured and precut, so all I have to do is throw it all together in the bowl it's packaged in, mix it up, and eat it. They're not cheap, but the convenience makes them well worth it!

4.  I believe I mentioned having just finished the Love Story perfume I have been wearing and loving every single day for at least the past month. If I didn't already have three full perfumes I need to use up, I would immediately run out to Ulta to buy another bottle, I love it that much!

5.  For football games this season I have been enjoying Blue Moon Belgian White Ale, though I have yet to try it with an orange slice. Has anyone else had an orange slice with their Blue Moon? If so, how did you like it? Let me know in the comments!

6.  Cosmetically speaking I have recently been using up a lot of stuff I bought on shopping sprees to Sephora and Ulta in an effort to clean out my make up drawer, and make my AM routine quick and easy. However, I have noticed that my go-to mascara has been Maybellene's Volume Express "The Falsies" Waterproof mascara. I used up all my super expensive Diorshow, Urban Decay's Perversion, Benefit Cosmetic's They're Real, Two Faced's Better Than Sex, etc., mascaras and found myself going back to the drug store mascaras like Maybellene and Cover Girl because  a) they all come in a waterproof formula which I need, and b) they work better, in my opinion, than the expensive ones. And, they're less expensive, so win win!

 That's really about it for my November favourites. Did you absolutely love anything special last month? Anything new you discovered and now can't live without? Let me know in the comments! Have a terrific Monday!




In the Kitchen

So, it's a cool, rainy day this Sunday, and I'm SO grateful I got my lawn mowed yesterday when it was sunny and slightly (but not much) warmer. I'm also glad I got a shot of my rain gauge from Friday's shower. We got a little over an inch, despite the local news saying we only got a 10th of an inch. Seriously, I don't know where they get their rain totals from, but it's always way less than what I get. I wonder what I'll get after today's storm?


Since, today is a really good day to use the oven, I decided to do some cooking. I started with a new-to-me baked egg recipe where I mixed some free range brown eggs with spinach, mushrooms, turkey bacon, and cheese, and baked them in a muffin tin. They turned out really good, but next time I'll be making a couple changes: 1) I'll sauté the mushrooms and spinach to make them easier to mix with the eggs; 2) I'll use silicone muffin cups instead of paper (the mixture leaked through the paper and burned on the muffin tin; it's supposed to be non-stick, but the stuff was impossible to get out, so I think I'll be getting a new muffin tin for Christmas!).


I also got my dinners for the week done: baked herbed chicken breast (boneless, skinless), broccoli and scalloped potatoes. The chicken and potatoes I baked in the oven, and the broccoli is just washed and cut up in the containers. They will steam perfectly when reheated in the microwave. I used to steam the broccoli about 7 minutes or so on the stove, but then they ended up mushy after heating up the whole dinner. Now, just steaming them with the rest of the dinner, they will be heated through, but still crunchy!


Now, that I'm all done cooking (well, except dinner, but I can't really bake the trout just yet!), I can snuggle down, enjoy the pouring rain, some Packers football and a lovely Blue Moon Belgian White! I hope you're all having a wonderful Sunday! Cheers!


Friday Five December 11

1.  So, yesterday I had an appointment in SLO, and thought I'd take advantage of the fact that I had to drive in to work, and go to the Farmer's Market. Unfortunately it rained. Not much. Only sprinkled, really. But they cancelled Farmer's Market anyway, so I ended up having a late lunch (chicken Caesar salad at Novo - so good!), browsing through a couple of my favourite stores (Hands Gallery and Hep Katz), then going home. It wasn't a total loss, thought, as I found and purchased an adorable Christmas tea towel for the kitchen! Pictures soon!

2.  Also since it kinda rained yesterday, I tried out my new rain boots. Sadly two of the eyelets on the left boot broke when I went to lace them up. It's annoying, but I think I can push them back into place, and it doesn't really affect how they function. They will not be getting a four-star review on the website, however! Also sadly, it pretty much quit raining after my doctor appointment so by the time I got back downtown to have lunch, I kinda looked ridiculous stomping around in slightly too-big rain boots on quickly drying pavement.

3. Now, of course this morning, just as I was leaving for the bus stop, it POURED rain. It rained and rained and rained. But, I already had my new black leather Converse high tops on, and didn't have time to change into the rain boots I really should have worn! Such is my luck!

4. Last weekend I went to K-Mart to look for some sheet straps so I can use some of my flannel sheets on my new adjustable bed without the bottom sheet popping off when I sit up, and ended up buying those plus four new sweaters! I did not need four new sweaters, but they were cute, and they were 40% off, and they fit, so ... voila! Four new sweaters! Now the only problem was that I need to remove four sweaters I currently own to make space for them. At first I wasn't sure I could do it, as I just went through all my sweaters last summer, and got rid of a bunch, keeping only the ones I really really liked, before buying a few new ones. But, as luck would have it, I found four sweaters I had not yet worn this season, crammed in the bottom of a drawer, and frankly, I'd forgotten all about them! So four old, forgotten sweaters are going to Goodwill, and four new sweaters will be worn and enjoyed by me!

5.  Speaking of forgetting things, yesterday I realized I'd forgotten all about December Reflections! Now, I'm woefully behind but I hope to have some time this weekend to catch up!

I hope you're all having a great week! Any super fun plans for the weekend? Or just chillin' (like I hope to do!)? Whatever your plans, enjoy! Cheers!


2015 Christmas Card(s)

My Christmas cards are mailed!! Honestly I think this is the earliest I have EVER mailed out my cards! Granted there are a few people who I know have moved, and I don't have their new address yet, so I'll have to mail cards out when I have their new addy, BUT! All the other cards - friends, family, Christmas Card exchange - are in the mail! I'm actually really super excited about that, and also feel SO relieved! I even have some cards (store bought, but still ...) for my co-workers, so I'm in really good shape card-wise this holiday season!

This year I only stamped one Christmas card design, and only made 12 of them. Last month when I was going through my two boxes of cards, I found quite a few Christmas cards from past years - some hand-stamped cards, some photo cards, some store-bought cards - that I decided to use up this year for Weetabix's annual card exchange. Hopefully no one will be disappointed if they happen to get a duplicate card from me, or even a store-bought one; I'm just trying to declutter my home, and since they were still perfectly good cards, I didn't want to just throw them away! Honestly, I love you all regardless of what kind of card I send you! My hope is that I will finish up all the cards this year, and be able to start fresh next year.

Below are all the leftover hand-stamped cards I've made over the past few years and mailed out this year, including the new design I did this year. Enjoy!







This one above I had my mom colour in for me after I took this picture, so if you get it, it'll look a little different! But it's still super cute!


The above is a photograph I took during a vacation in Pismo Beach, California, and used an online card-making company (sorry, I can't remember now what it was!) to make the cards.


And this is the 2015 Christmas Card! I found these fun "ugly Christmas sweater" stamps at Simon Says Stamp, and while I have lots of Christmas-themed stamps, I just had to have them!

Do you mail out Christmas/Other Winter Holiday cards? If you do, do you make them yourself, or just buy a box at the store? Either is awesome as far as I'm concerned! Cheers!


Bonus Teaser Tuesday: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read.

•Open to a random page.

 •Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. (I tend to go over this limit a LOT!)

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I actually read this book in one day - December first to be exact. After finishing the wonderful book The Strange and Wonderful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, I initially wanted to read the new Gregory Maguire book, After Alice, but my nook is becoming increasingly annoying and required me to "unlock" my book by providing my name and credit card number. As if I'm going to have that information readily available when I'm sitting on the bus, and even if I did, I wouldn't be pulling out my credit card when there's people around to see it. Sheesh! Anyway, I decided to try another book in my library in the hopes it would already be unlocked, and Poisoned Apples was the winner!

It's a collection of poetry about the unrealistic notions of fairy tales and the modern beauty industry, and how it can make young girls feel about themselves. It's really a very good book, with some great poems in it, as well as some really cool photography, so if you're in the mood to read some funny, dark, serious, thought-provoking poems, check this book out! Here's my teaser called The Giant's Daughter at Spring Formal which is on page 34 on my nook:

It's bad enough

that the other girls shopped at Teeny


and I'm decked out in

Tarp City,

but even through the perfume

of my pumpkin-size corsage,

Papa will smell Jack on me when I get


those greedy little hands.

He'll stagger around the castle

hunting for bones to grind

until I tuck him in. Then I'll toss

the bottles down through the clouds

where Mama won't find them,

and wait out by the beanstalk.

Someday I'll meet a guy

I can look up to.

One who's not a drunken oaf

or a shrimp whose jeering buddies

dared him to make the climb.


Have a great Tuesday! Cheers!


Teaser Tuesday: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read.

•Open to a random page.

 •Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. (I tend to go over this limit a LOT!)

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Last week I finished this wonderful book: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I'm not sure what category this book falls under - Contemporary? Urban fantasy? Ghost story? Maybe all of the above. Regardless, it's a beautifully written, magical read!

Here are my teasers from page 157 on my nook:

This rain smelled eerily to her like nothing at all. Or if anything, it smelled the way she suspected an omen might smell: a lunar eclipse, the evil eye, the number 13. It smelled, also, like fear.

So, what are you reading this week? Have you chosen something seasonal? I have, a few times in the past, picked Christmas-themed books this time of year, though this year I have not really found anything yet. If you have any good Christmassy reading suggestions, let me know in the comments! Cheers!