Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 - EPIC

Hello All!

I mentioned before the end of the year that this blog would become quiet for a while.  I meant for that to last until the first of the year.  However, 2018 began in a rough way, even though the Christmas/New Year's break was amazing!

On January 2, I attended the visitation for my uncle who passed away.  Later that day, I started to develop a cough.  By the next day, I had the flu with everything except vomiting (thank goodness!).  This lasted for 4 days, then transitioned into a sinus infection with bronchitis and a touch a pneumonia.  This lasted for 8 days.  I still have a cough, but am feeling a lot better.  About 80% or so, which is a huge deal!

Now that the new year has officially started, at least by my clock, I am ready to tackle this year with gusto!  Most of this year is going to be focused on follow through and consistency.  Actually completing things I say I'm going to do, follow processes and programs to get said things completed, etc.

You see that word up there in the title of this post?  That's my word for the year.  A few years back I started choosing a word for the year to focus on.  EPIC is my word for 2018.  Why?  Because I am going to make this year Epic!  I will share with you some of my goals for the year in another post.  I've been thinking about these for weeks now.  Also, I choose EPIC because it can serve as an acronym for some of my favorite positive words. 

Empowerment, Persistence, Inspiration, Courage

This is how I will focus on 2018.  What about you?  Do you have any goals, plans, words, you would like to share?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Books of 2017: Top 5

Yesterday, I shared with you my Bottom 5 books of the year.  Most of them weren't terrible and some had received great reviews.  I, however, was not impressed.

But now...on to the Top 5 books I read this year!

#5:  Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick

I was walking through the library one day when I spotted this on the shelf.  I do enjoy biographies/autobiographies/memoirs a lot, so I was to read this one.  There were so many places where I laughed out loud, others I found able to relate to, and other parts I didn't enjoy that much.  I enjoyed the story telling and loved learning more about Anna.  There was a whole chapter about a boat trip that I didn't like, but this book will definitely make it on the shelf in my personal library.

#4:  The Best of Enemies, Jen Lancaster

Is it a ironic that a book of fiction from one of my favorite authors makes the Bottom 5 and another makes the Top 5?  I don't know, but this one was very fun to read.  Two women who barely tolerate each other because of a mutual friend are brought together to help that friend.  There were a few little twists that I wasn't expecting that made this story even more interesting.  I would recommend this book for a vacation read or when you want to read something from the perspective of "those women" that are different from you.  It's funny.

#3:  Introvert Power, Laurie Helgoe, PhD

Are you an introvert?  Are you friends with one?  Are you trying to figure out why that cool friend of yours doesn't want to party all night with you at the club?  Read this book.  If you know for a fact that you are not introverted or you want to learn a little more about those quiet people, at least read the first six chapters of this book.  To my fellow introverts, I found this book insightful and empowering.

#2:  Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling

Ok, I think I re-read this series every year.  It's forever one of my favorites, so it's no surprise that it makes the Top 5 list.  The entire series is unbelievable.  If I had to choose a favorite book from the series, it would be The Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Half-Blood Prince.  Alright, so I can't choose just one favorite of the series.  I will say that the very first chapter of the series is perhaps my favorite of all 7 books.

#1:  Inkheart, Cornelia Funke

OMG!!!  I was introduced to this series this year by my supervisor at work.  How have I never heard of this series before?  Incredible!  A book about books!  Although this story is about a 12 year old girl and her father, I find it very difficult to understand why it is in the YA genre.  Seriously, as the series progresses, the issues (and language) do as well.  I found myself struggling to pause the story, I wanted to keep reading.  The way you discover bits of information in this story is genius.  However, they do not receive their due.  I know there was a movie made and I haven't watched it yet, but I believe this series could be a phenomenon.  I cannot wait to add this series to my personal library.

There you go.  My favorite books of the year.  Go read them!  If you are on Goodreads, we could be friends.  Send me a message!  Do you have an opinion about any of the books I've shared?  Please add them in the comments.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Books of 2017: Bottom 5

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Goodreads?  I love how I can keep track of books I want to read, books I've read, and how I can look back and see my year in books.

This past year, I was introduced to a new series, discovered another new series, revisited old favorites, and began rebuilding my library of books I loved as a teenager.  Of the 53 books I've read so far this year, there are quite a few I loved and also some that I will never read again.

For today's post, I will share with you my Bottom 5 books of the year.  Please do not let my opinions sway you from reading a book that you are particularly interested in if it happens to be on this list.

#5:  The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

I read this because I enjoy reading books on personal growth.  This one sounded really interesting and I've had it on my list for a while.  While I can appreciate the amount of research that went into Gretchen Rubin's work, there were so many times when I was completely bored while reading, particularly because there were sections that spent way too much time on theories, history, research, facts, etc.  The general idea was great, but was not too impressed.

#4:  Living the Dream, Lauren Berry

I discovered this book while waiting in line to meet Paula Deen. It seemed to be right up my alley; single girlfriends each working hard and trying to make something of their lives while dealing with life issues in their own way.  Not at all what I was expecting.  I was 3/4 of the way into the book before the story started to turn a little interesting.  The characters weren't bad, although I liked Emma's character a tiny bit better than Clementine's.  Some surprises along the way, but by the end, I was just ready to be done reading it.

 #3:  Twisted Sisters, Jen Lancaster

A work of fiction by one of my favorite authors, I was really excited about this book.  I'm not exactly sure what it was about this story that made me not like it much.  It's a story involving sibling rivalry, a little magic, and the thought of what it must be like to live the life of someone else.  Although I am happy that Reagan got off her high horse a little bit, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would.  It just seemed odd and a little like a violation, even as a book of fiction.  Did not sit well with me.

#2:  The Sign of Fear, R.L. Stine

As a pretty short book (151 pages) from my teenage years, this one probably shouldn't make the list.  However, I have an opinion about every book I read and this one was part of a series I love but was not a good one to me.  The book tells two stories, one in 50 A.D. and another in 1710.  This books is kind of like a history lesson that gives insight to the curse of the Fear family. However, it seems to contradict the history of the Fear family told in another story that was published 3 years prior to this one.  Maybe I should ask R.L Stine to explain this one to me.

#1:  Smart Women Smart Money, Joan Baker

I read this book as part of an incentive at work.  I chose this particular book because I've always been lousy with finance and thought I could learn something worthwhile that would help.  Haha.  No.  This book was filled with mindless narrative about shit I already knew.  General, basic, vague information that is common sense for anyone.  Seriously, a waste of time.  At least it helped me earn my cash incentive.

And these are my least favorite books of the year.  Next, I will share my favorites.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Christmas is in 6 days.  I still haven't finished shopping (3 gifts to go), haven't started wrapping yet, and haven't finished my baking.

2.  Speaking of baking, I started last night (with Mom's help) and when I finally went to bed at 11:30 pm, I had only finished one type of cookie and a bread.  There are two types of cookies to go and packaging still.

3.  I haven't picked out my planner for 2018 yet and I need to get to the store and get on that because I want to start booking for January as soon as possible.

4.  This is the last work week of the year for everyone at work.  Can you guess the level of motivation and productivity?

5.  Earlier this year, I signed up on Credit Karma and I have to say that it's made improving my credit score more enjoyable.  It provides a visual and something to look forward to.

6.  PSA:  If you have to open my door to speak with me, please close the door when you leave.  The door was shut for a reason.

7.  This chick is exhausted.

8.  It looks like we won't have a white Christmas, however it will be super cold (20s)!

9.  This blog may go quiet for a while, but don't worry.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Weekend Recap...

Friday:  I took a personal day off work and OMG!  It was amazing!  My dad and I spent the morning shopping (I don't like shopping for Christmas this late.).  After shopping, I met some of my coworkers for a viewing of the new Star Wars movie.  Now, I personally thoroughly enjoyed it.  There was a section I thought was unnecessary and I still have questions, but I thought it was really good.  That evening was the annual tractor parade in my hometown.  Local farmers decorate their tractors with Christmas lights and its a blast!  Even with all the excitement, it was a fairly early night for me.

Saturday:  I worked in the morning and it was a good time.  We stayed busy which made the day go by faster.  After work, I managed a short rest up (probably 30 minutes) before changing and heading out with my parents to the Budweiser Warm Springs Ranch.  A fun little tour, beautiful horses, pretty Christmas lights, and free beer.  It was great!  After the ranch, it was on to a local brewery to take in their extreme Christmas light display and of course, drink some more beer.  :)  BBQ for dinner that hit the spot and a viewing of Rudolph completed the night.  I love nights like these sometimes. 

Sunday:  It was nice to sleep in a little bit before going in to work again.  Last week, the lights went out on our snowman tree.  After removing all the ornaments and starting from the bottom, we discovered that it was just a single strand of lights that went out.  Removing that one strand and turning the tree was a lot better than having to re-string the whole tree.  I finished decorating it before going in to work.  This day was half busy/half slow and was a long day.  At least I worked with cool people.  In the evening, as a family we watched Christmas Vacation.  I love that movie.  I want to watch it again. 

The main objective for this weekend, and the reason for the personal day, was to finish my shopping, wrap gifts, and bake.  Because of some impromptu activities, I got none of that done.  I still have three gifts to get, every gift to wrap, and a lot of baking to do.  Don't you love the holiday season?