July Highlights!

This year is flying by. I can’t believe it’s already August. Before I know it we’ll be in October and I’ll be a mom! I was a little bit busier this month so I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked, but it does feel amazing to be a bookworm again.

I read 3 books:

The Martian Anne of Avonlea Wives and Daughters

Anne of Avonlea is a well-known favorite of mine, but The Martian and Wives and Daughters are new favorites that I LOVED reading! I am now on a Classics-craze which is perfect because I need to get a move on with my Classics Club list.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases

What I Watched

Wives and Daughters BBC Little Dorrit

I watched and loved both the Wives and Daughters and Little Dorrit BBC miniseries last month. Matthew Macfadyen is always lovely in a period drama and Andy Serkis will freak you out with his acting talents. And Wives and Daughters is a beautiful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s unfinished last work. I watched the ending several times :)

July Highlights

  • Hanging out with friends! – We had several movie and game nights this past month. It’s been an important goal for Matt and I to hang out with friends as much as possible before the baby arrives, because then we probably won’t be able to for a while.
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    Playing Ticket to Ride for the first time :)

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    Spending a summer evening downtown with friends watching an 80s cover band (The Breakfast Club)

  • Reading! – Last month I finally felt like a bookworm again. I started a new book as soon as I finished an old one, I carried my Kindle around with me everywhere, and I had a “book hangover” for the first time in months :) I’ve really been into Classics lately and I wish I could be reading them all at once. I also finally organized the bookshelves in our living room:
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  • Surprise trip to Atlanta! – Last month I drove to Atlanta with my best friend Jae to surprise our other best friend McKenzie after she got engaged :) Her fiancé coordinated everything and he did a fantastic job. It was so thoughtful of him to ask McKenzie’s close friends to be there and I know it meant a lot to all of us.
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    After dinner selfies with my friends Caroline and Jae.

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    With my newly engaged BFF McKenzie!

July Challenges

  • Being uncomfortable – I was at the end of my second trimester in July, so things are starting to become more and more uncomfortable for me. I have such a short torso already so that doesn’t help. Bending over to put on shoes or pet the dog cuts off my circulation a bit and most nights I can’t find a good sleeping position. But as of today I have 12 weeks to go! Little Baby French Fry will be here before we know it :)

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    27 weeks & 1 day

  • Longing for autumn – I’m so tired of summer and I can’t wait for my favorite season to arrive! I’ve already seen so many autumn decorations out in the stores and last week I even bought a fall-themed monogrammed banner for our front door on sale at Joann’s :) I can’t wait for cooler weather, changing leaves, college football, Thanksgiving, and a sweet baby boy to arrive!

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    It’s hard to enjoy the lingering summer months when autumnal candles bombard me with their lovely scents.

Looking Forward To in August

  • Read-alongs – I’m participating in a read-along of Villette with my Goodreads group this month. I’m also joining a 4-month read-along of the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter) hosted by The Book Addict’s Guide. Both of these read-alongs just started so feel free to join in :)
  • Austen in August – This year I’m participating in two different Austen in August events! One is month-long and the other is a week-long. I plan on reading Sense and Sensibility as well as some modern Austen-inspired adaptations. I’ll be posting several Austen-themed blog posts, and I’m even hosting a giveaway at the end of the month :)
  • Preparing for my baby shower – It’s in just over a month from now and I can’t wait! My mom and my dear friend Robin are helping plan it and already I’m overwhelmed by all the love and support I’ve felt from them and from all my other friends during my pregnancy.

May & June Highlights

I haven’t done a highlights post in forever! It feels nice to be back into blogging regularly :)

Here is what I was up to the past two months…

I read 8 books.

Hitchhiker's Guide  Jurassic Park  Persuasion harrypotter whereshewent

      Fables  Seconds  Stealing the Groom

Which is a lot considering I was still coming off my reading slump last month.

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Where I’ve Been – It was nice to finally share with everyone our exciting news and explain why I’d been absent for several months.

25 Things: Ever After’s Château de Hautefort – I love that this post from last summer is still so popular, especially since it was on my bucket list for so long & I’d love to revisit it!

What I Watched

I finally got to catch up with my favorite web series! I updated my ‘Literary Vlogs’ sidebar to reflect some of the new YouTube shows I’ve been watching, like Northbound and From Mansfield With Love (adaptations of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, respectively).

Northbound

I relate very much to Catherine Morland…and of course, who doesn’t love Henry Tilney?!

I also caught up on From Mansfield With Love, finally. It’s a harder Jane Austen novel to adapt, but the frequent cameos from the minor characters make it pretty interesting :)

May & June Highlights

  • Traveling – I traveled a lot the past two months. Probably more than a pregnant lady should, but I always had a buddy with me (either family members or Solo) and it was nice to visit friends and family.
  • 2nd Trimester! – After the first trimester’s ups and downs, it’s been like a breath of fresh air being in my second trimester. We also got to see our “little baby french fry” up close and found out it’s a boy! Since then we’ve been preparing our tiny apartment (and ourselves) for his arrival. Every time I see a friend has had her baby I get a tiny bit jealous! For now, labor doesn’t scare me, but I’m sure that’ll change in a few months!

    24 Weeks

    24 weeks as of July 6th!

  • VACATION! – Last week we went on a family reunion cruise. It was wonderful :)
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    My husband and me in Key West (we also visited Cozumel).

    Carnival

    Carnival Ecstasy

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    My mom’s side of the family :)

    Matt and Ian

    My brother would probably kill me if he knew I put this online, but I love this picture so much! We were all pretty exhausted on the drive back from Miami.

    We also got to spend 4th of July at EPCOT so my husband and I got an unexpected Disney fix (thanks to my aunt’s sister who works at the parks).
    Epcot

    Matt

    Isn’t he cute? ;)

May & June Challenges

  • Feeling hungry all the time – This has been the one pitfall to my second trimester. I feel like I’m hungry so often, and most of the time the only foods I want to eat are sweets and junk food =P I’ve always been active and have had a fast metabolism, so it’s hard for me to limit myself but I don’t want to overindulge at the same time.
  • Missing having a job – I wasn’t able to find a job before we moved to Wilmington, and after I hit the 12 weeks mark I figured it would just be best for me to take it easy and pick up my job search early next year. But I miss having a routine and that extra income. If anyone knows of some reliable, non-telemarketing, work-from-home jobs, PLEASE let me know!

Things I’m Looking Forward To in July

  • More traveling – Hey, it’s better to get all this traveling in now than when after the baby arrives!
  • Catching up on reading – I’m trying to put a big dent in my Classics TBR plus I have tons of unread books on my shelves that I’d like to get to sometime this year.
  • Summer activities with friends – We have some game nights and beach days penned down for the summer that my husband and I are both looking forward to (although I’m much more hesitant about the ocean after the 8th North Carolina shark attack this year was reported a few days ago…).

July To Be Read

harrypotter  The Martian Wives and Daughters

My husband and I are continuing through our read along of the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Martian last month and although it’s holding my attention, it does take a while to read. I’m seriously behind on my Classics Club list, so I’m picking up Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters this month.

What was your favorite moment from June?

Where I’ve Been

It has been nearly 3 months since my last post and I’m finally ready to explain where the heck I’ve been lately. Prepare yourself for some not so fun stories, but I will start and finish this post off with happy things, don’t worry!

Since I don’t think I ever posted a wrap-up post from February, I never got the chance to squeal about some of the big, exciting things that happened for me and my husband at the beginning of the year, so let me just do that real quickly right now:

  • My husband was offered a job in Wilmington, NC which he took! He’s been working now for 5 months and he really enjoys it.
  • We officially relocated from Maryland to North Carolina at the end of March and we love it here! We’ve made so many friends and are almost finished settling into our place (this month I’ve been restoring and repainting furniture and I’m hoping to unpack the last few boxes in the coming weeks).

And the biggest news of all is:

  • We are expecting our first child!

    Mother's Day

    Family photo back from Mother’s Day. Matt thinks he looks goofy here but I think he looks like a proud Papa :)

  • And…

    It's a Boy

    Little Baby French Fry is due on October 26!

I am officially 21 weeks along today, and I am finally enjoying the “honeymoon phase” of pregnancy. After my first trimester I was beginning to lose hope that I would enjoy anything about being pregnant, and that’s all thanks to those lovely hormones that give some women morning sickness and others, like me, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I was never diagnosed, but I can tell you that I had early pregnancy depression and it turned my world completely upside down. (Yes, here come those not so fun stories I warned you about)

We had been trying to conceive for roughly two years, but earlier this year we weren’t actively trying due to Matt’s new job and our impending move. So it came as a big surprise (and for me I was in disbelief for a while) when the tests came back positive. WE’RE HAVING A BABY! Of course we were both happy, but a few days later I started feeling worried; Was this the best time? Would we be financially secure? What if I couldn’t find a new job when we moved? Would I be a good mom? Why am I not happier?

These thoughts plagued us both for the first month, but while my husband handled his stress by working hard and solving all our housing problems, I tried as hard as I could to feel happier and more positive but to no avail. All of the normal things I loved to do suddenly turned me off. Reading made me nauseous, I had no desire to write anything for my blog and I even avoided social media (and not for good reasons), and I gave up my attempts to finish my 25 Things list because I no longer cared about anything.

Finally, after a few weeks, I told my husband about how I was feeling because the last thing I wanted to do was isolate myself with those dark feelings. He was nothing but supportive and encouraging. He reassured me that this was all hormone-related and that eventually I would feel like myself again. Honestly, I only believed him half the time, but I would try every now and then to pick up a book or watch one of my favorite TV shows or crochet, and if I couldn’t do it, I tried not to focus on any repercussions (i.e. not updating my blog for months or finishing my 25 Things list before my birthday).

It was really hard. People asked me regularly what I was reading lately or why my blog was so silent, and I hated telling them, “My pregnancy hormones are making me depressed,” because shouldn’t I be happy about having a baby? I wish someone had told me that it’s not uncommon to feel depressed during pregnancy. At least that would have made me feel less ashamed.

But long story short, eventually I did find myself again. After going from reading a book a week to not reading a book for over two months, I finally picked something up and finished it. My husband was happy the old me was back, but he was never once negative or pessimistic about what I had been going through; he was constantly supportive and there for me, even when he was living in NC and I was still up in Maryland. I will be forever grateful to have him as my husband, and I know he’s going to be a great father to our little boy :)

So now I’m finally ready to return to the world of blogging. I won’t be posting as often as I used to, but I will try to post twice a week. I even have a Top Ten Tuesday post lined up for tomorrow!!

Thank you to all of you who read this post or who have encouraged and congratulated me over the past couple of months. I really have missed the friends I’ve made through blogging, and I’m sorry I disappeared but I’m very much looking forward to posting, reading my favorite blogs, and participating in blogosphere events again!

<3 Maggie

Top Ten Tuesday: Book-Related Problems

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about my biggest book-related problems! And, I have a lot (what bookworm doesn’t?). The good thing is that I don’t have all of these problems at once; they come and go, depending on my mood and what book(s) I happen to be reading.

Top Ten Book-Related Problems

Book hangovers – Ugh, I dread these immensely! For those who don’t know, a book hangover is what happens after you read a phenomenal book and you find yourself stuck in that bookish world, constantly thinking about the characters, ONLY wanting to read a book exactly like that specific one (which is impossible–even if you find a similar book in the same genre, IT WILL NOT COMPARE AND WILL MAKE YOU EVEN SADDER), etc. Right now I’m stalling on finishing The Retribution of Mara Dyer because I know I will have a massive book hangover (honestly, I knew before I had even finished the first book that I was going to be miserable at the end of the series).

Raving too much about my favorite books – This isn’t the worst problem I have, but I’m always self-conscious about talking too excitedly with my friends about my favorite books. I don’t want to over-hype it, because that could totally ruin it for people (books have been ruined for me because they were over-hyped), so I end up having this internal battle where I want to talk about a book in every conversation but at the same time I don’t want that person to get annoyed and hate the book when they do read it.

Avoiding hanging out with friends because I want to finish a book – Yessss…I am guilty of being antisocial. This is something I’m trying to work on desperately.

Being a mood reader – I would say this is my biggest problem, especially when I have books on my shelf that I need to review or return to the library (and I hate returning unread books). But I can’t really force myself to read a book that I’m not in the mood to read (and in all honesty, why should I? I’m not in school anymore; I’m not writing papers for grades or taking tests on any of these books). All you mood readers: how do you feel about this problem?

Reading multiple books at a time – This isn’t always a problem, but it has been lately. Normally I read one book at a time, but for the past couple of months I’ve had 3-5 books on my “Currently Reading” shelf and it’s kind of stressful because I’m not finishing books as quickly as I usually do.

Buying books when I have plenty of unread books at home – This is why I’ve placed a book buying ban upon myself this year. The only exceptions have been for series that I’ve started to read and love (i.e. Mara Dyer), and for books I adore and wanted second editions of (i.e. Anne of Green Gables, which I am currently lending to a friend so really I had no choice if I wanted to continue my tradition of reading the series every other spring).

Not keeping a good record of my favorite quotes – I’ve started doing this recently, but I wish I had been writing down favorite or memorable quotes I’ve read over the past decade. It would be nice to flip back through them and see what caught my attention at different periods of my life.

Not challenging myself enough in the genres I read – Specifically, I wish I read more non-fiction, poetry, and novels from more diverse cultures. I’ve been working on this. I read my first ever graphic novel last week and I am currently reading my first ever Russian novel (War and Peace), so there’s progress! Can anyone recommend some good poetry collections for me?

Stressing out over reading – This is just the worst. Whenever I find myself stressing out about reading I have to remind myself that READING IS SUPPOSED TO BE RECREATIONAL, especially now that I’ve long since finished school.

Wanting to name my future kids after my favorite authors and characters – Sometimes I can persuade my husband into liking the same names I do, but with other names, like Keats and Kipling, I don’t even try. And no, I’m not going to share with the internet the literary names we have agreed on because I am one of those women who doesn’t want other women to steal her ideas ;)

What are some of your biggest problems when it comes to reading?

January Highlights

It’s hard to believe February is upon us. January didn’t necessarily fly by for me, but a lot of things happened in my life and I know February is going to be just as eventful.

So here’s what I was up to last month!

I read 12 books!

Lonely Postman IMG_0063 from-the-15th-district mac amostinconvenientmarriage
princess diaries princess in the spotlight earnest soulprint Legend
                                             mara dyer theevolutionofmaradyer

This was a huge surprise for me, because last month I was all upset that I couldn’t find enough time to read as often as I did before finding a full-time job.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Reads – I had so much fun chatting with other bloggers about these books! Tuesday’s posts always bring the best conversations :)

What I Watched

Gilmore Girls – Ok, HUGE surprise to everyone: my dad has gotten hooked on Gilmore Girls. My mom and I started watching the show back in September, but we’ve been taking our time. And this month we started watching it again and my dad watched one episode with us and was completely pulled in. So much so that he’s gotten upset when we watched episodes without him. I feel like I’m in some alternate universe where my dad, whose favorite shows are The Walking Dead and Forensic Files, suddenly enjoys Gilmore Girls. But hey, I’ll take it!

East & West Vlog – A new YouTube series based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It’s just starting, but I really enjoy the actress who plays Margaret (also, she goes by Maggie!). I’m looking forward to seeing what the creators have in store for this one.

The Writing Majors – Another new YouTube series, but this one is really unique! It imagines Jane Austen, Emily Dickenson, and Oscar Wilde as grad school roommates. The actors are incredible and the episodes so far have been very enjoyable.

What I Listened To

This month I really dived into audiobooks! With my long commute, I’ve been trying to use the time for books, and it’s only taken me a couple of months to really get adjusted to listening to audiobooks. It’s amazing how weak my listening skills have become over the years. I have to really concentrate to actively listen, but I think it’s a good exercise :)

I also listened to Serial! For those who know me, when I discover something I love, I completely binge watch/read/listen. So, I listened to the first Serial podcast on my way to work last Friday, and I finished it just after midnight on Saturday. I HAD to know how it ended. The story-telling was so captivating that it’s hard to stop listening.

January Highlights

  • Watching Gilmore Girls with my family!
  • Starting to find my feet in my new job – things are finally starting to make sense!
  • Having deep conversations (or just really interesting conversations) with fellow bloggers! Meeting and conversing with other readers and bloggers is my favorite part about having a blog :)
  • Feeling more “adult” – This month we bought a car and paid off more bills, and I also just did a lot more “adult” things, like wine-tasting and making more independent decisions.

January Challenges

  • Although we moved back to the States at the end of August, we’re still transitioning. We’ve had to make big decisions about our future, and although I can’t reveal them yet, I am excited about them & about sharing them with the blogosphere in a month or two :) (and before anyone speculates, NO, it’s not about a baby).
  • Trying to multitask less. I read this blog post from I’d Rather Be Reading about singletasking, and it really helped me grasp how attached I am to multitasking. If I’m not doing two or more things at a time, I literally feel like I’m wasting time. So I’ve been actively trying to only do one thing at a time sometimes, for instance, while I’m eating. Lunch time at work is a great time for me to just take a step away from the computer or my phone or even from reading. It gives me a half hour of reflection time instead, and it’s also nice to detach from technology, too.
  • I almost forgot this one: we bought a new car!New Car

In February I’m Looking Forward To

  • Crossing off as many things from my 25 Things List as possible! I feel so behind, but some of those things I’ve known for a while I won’t be able to do (like visit England), and that’s ok. I made this list thinking we would still be in France and hopping on a train to the UK was easy to achieve. Instead I’m trying to enjoy the bucket list items I am able to cross off. Right now I’m crocheting myself a nice afghan :)

February To Be Read

MTLGTM IMG_0061 athousandpiecesofyou

I’m still getting through My True Love Gave To Me for my book club (our next read is A Thousand Pieces of You which I’m stoked about!). I’ve also started the last book in the Mara Dyer series, but I’m sad for it to be over so I’ve been taking my time.

What were some of your highlights from January? Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading this month?

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Resolutions!

toptentuesdayThe last Top Ten Tuesday post of 2014 is all about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015! Normally I have one or two resolutions at the start of each year, but I rarely follow through. I feel like 2015 will be different. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m getting older, but there are plenty of things I want to do in my life, and there’s no time like the present :)

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Stress out less about reading – Sometimes I get into that habit of treating reading as a chore instead of a hobby. I create these deadlines and sign up for these challenges in order to get myself to read more, and sometimes those things are fun, but usually it just stresses me out. And reading is supposed to be fun, not stressful!
  2. Cut back on book review requests – This year I discovered NetGalley, and I love it! But I went a little clicker-crazy and requested to review way too many books. I never expected to be approved for most of them, but I was wrong. So now I’ve decided to spend the beginning of next year focusing on all the upcoming books I need to review. I’m also hoping this will help out with stressing out less about reading (checking things off a To Do list=a happy Maggie).
  3. Trim down my TBR list – I expanded my library so much this year, and most of those books are still sitting on my shelf unread. I’m hoping to knock out a big chunk of those To Be Read books in 2015.
  4. Reorganize my personal library – I have too many books and not enough shelf space (the pitfall of being a bookworm). I’d love to reorganize my bookshelves and also keep a better record of the books I have out on loan (one of these would be fantastic).
  5. Read more Dickens – I am ashamed to admit that I have read ONE Dickens novel in my entire life. Granted, it was one of his best (Great Expectations), but I would love to make 2015 a Dickensian year.
  6. Talk to my husband more about the books I read – He probably already thinks I talk enough about books, but I would love to share more with my husband about my bookish thoughts.
  7. Read what I love – This year I read a lot of books I normally wouldn’t have because of their popularity and not necessarily because they were “me” books. Often at times I didn’t want to finish these books because I couldn’t stand an unrealistic character, a cheesy plot line, or a cringeworthy writing style, but I hate the idea of giving up on a book I’ve started. I don’t plan on keeping this reading habit up into the New Year. In 2015 I will read the types of books I know I will enjoy, whether they are popular or not.
  8. Travel more – This isn’t a bookish resolution, but next year I definitely want to spend more time visiting new places and taking mini-vacations. Living in France showed me the importance of going on vacations a couple times a year, and I think that’s a habit I should keep up now that I’m back in the States.
  9. Cross off as many things from my 25 Things list as possible – I have seriously been slacking on my bucket list I made to celebrate my 25th birthday. I’ve completed less than 10 of my 25 goals, with a few more lined up in January. There are a few big things, like travel to the UK/Ireland and visit a new continent, that I know I won’t be able to do before March (at the time I thought we’d be living in France for another year or so and would have more opportunities to travel). BUT, to be optimistic, I’ve done a lot of fun things that weren’t on my list :)
  10. Move! – This is the biggest resolution for me and my husband. We’re itching to find our own apartment/home and to actually start settling down into our new life in the States. It’s been great living with my family and spending time with them, but as any married couple can agree with, sometimes you just need your own space :)

There you have it! My 10 resolutions for 2015. What are some of your resolutions for the New Year?

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon

mountvernonLast week my husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary :) Since our anniversary is so close to Christmas, and because we’re trying to save up money right now to find a new apartment next year, we decided to take advantage of the closeness of Washington, D.C. to celebrate. One of my favorite attractions in the area is George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and my husband had never been before, so when we saw that they were holding a Christmas event there last weekend, we quickly reserved some tickets and bundled ourselves up for the colonial festivities :) (no, seriously, we were freezing!)

The estate offered a lovely variety of 18th century holiday festivities including caroling, chocolate making, silhouetted portrait demonstrations, live colonial-style music (featuring a hurdy gurdy!), blacksmith reconstructions, and 18th century dancing (my favorite!). The evening was topped off with a Christmas-time reenactment and a little fireworks show from George Washington’s backyard.

Unfortunately, it was really dark outside, so my pictures didn’t turn out as great as I hoped they would, but I’m still going to share them here :)

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Making old-fashioned hot chocolate.

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Colonial music, featuring a hurdy gurdy.

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The blacksmith hammering out a J-Hook.

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Super blurry, but you get the idea :) It was really fun watching the people closest to us dance–they messed up quite a few times but still had fun (which is reassuring because I know I’d forget half the dance steps, too!).

Next year we plan to go back with the rest of the family. And I’ll be sure to give the 18th century dancing a try, too! ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you all enjoy some quality time with your families to ring in the New Year :)

It’s A Wonderful Life!

Christmastime is upon us!!

Normally we buy a tree and kick of the Christmas season one or two days after Thanksgiving, but this year we had to delay a week and it was hard! But finally we have Christmas-fied our house!

On Thursday night we went and bought a tree, but we couldn’t decorate it until Friday night.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Decorated Tree

Isn’t it pretty?!?! I’ve always loved “traditional” Christmas trees, as I call them, with the multicolored lights and various types of classic and homemade ornaments. Last year in France we  had more of a red, white, & wood mountain-themed Christmas, which was lovely and totally fit the region we lived in. But this year I’m super excited to have a Christmas tree like we always had growing up. The last time we spent Christmas at my parents’ house was before we moved to France!

Per tradition, I also made Christmas cookies and then last night we watched one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, It’s A Wonderful Life. I laughed, I cried, and I felt all warm and fuzzy when it was over :) Such a classic!

The Christmas cookies I made were de-lish-ious. I did not make the recipe, but I’ll share it with you since I’ve had several requests :)

Hidden Candy Cane Kiss Cookies by Once Upon A Cutting Board

candy cane kiss cookies 1

They look amazing, right?!

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The recipe itself is actually super easy.

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My cookies came out a little different from the picture, but when you eat them straight out of the oven, the peppermint kiss just melts in your mouth and it is DELICIOUS.

The one problem I had with these cookies is that when I ate them the next day, they were too hard for my taste (but still yummy). I just heated them up in the microwave for 10 seconds and they were once again perfect.

I definitely plan on making these cookies again before Christmas, but I want to try adding some cocoa powder! Chocolate + peppermint = <333

Click here for the recipe!

What are some of your Christmas traditions? Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe? I’d love to try it!

November Highlights

Oh my gosh, it is December already!? Whaaaat!

October was a big month for me, but November was just as busy and eventful. This month brought some great, new changes to my life, and it was also a bit of an awakening for me as well. My blogging and reading time entered a bit of a lull, but if you keep reading on you’ll see that it’s been worth it :)

November Highlights!

This month I read 7  books! (Which might not seem like a lot, but it surprised me because I felt like I hadn’t read anything this month)

thebeautifulamerican thetroublewithflirting waroftheworlds thewonderofallthings
            robinhood weddingnight somethingstrange

I still need to get my review up for The War of the Worlds, and later this week I will be hosting a blog tour for The Beautiful American, which I am so excited to talk about!

What I Watched In November

Like I talked about last month, Matt and I have been binge watching Supernatural. We watch a couple of episodes most nights, and right now we are halfway through Season 5. The first two seasons were amazing! I am totally in love with Sam and Dean and I LOVE their relationship. I think the fact that they are brothers as opposed to best friends makes the show so much better. But seasons 3 and 4 were kinda disappointing. Season 5 is better, but honestly, every time Castiel pops up, I know the rest of the episode is going to go downhill (except for the Trickster one! Oh my gosh, that’s one of my favorite episodes so far).

I also started The Blacklist, and I think I’ll be binge watching the rest of Season 1 next month (I have SO MANY QUESTIONS!).

I saw The Maze Runner finally (and broke my cardinal rule by seeing the movie first), and loved it, but I also saw Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal and was creeped out. Good movie, but not the kind of thing I want to see twice.

Most Popular Blog Post

My most viewed post from November was my update on my 25 Things list! I’m slowly crossing off things from my list of 25 Things For My 25th Year, and I’ve done some pretty big and exciting things throughout the past couple of months!

Favorite Memories From November:

  • I GOT A JOB! Woooooo! I talked about this in my 25 Things Update post, but I’ve been employed for nearly 3 weeks now and I love it so far. My husband and I are very thankful for God’s provision.
  • YALL Fest!!! I could go on and on about this amazing experience, but I sort of already did that ;)
  • Thanksgiving! This was my first Thanksgiving in 3 years that I got to spend in the States, and since it is my favorite holiday, I was very excited about it! My grandfather came to visit us for the long weekend and it was really nice getting to spend some time with him. I spent Thursday morning watching the parade and cooking up all my favorite dishes from last year.
    thanksgiving

Biggest Challenge From November

NOT ENOUGH READING TIME! This is the one downside to working full-time: I don’t have as much time to read and blog. My commute to work is about 1 hour and 15 minutes, so I’ve been listening to audio books to make up for it, but not all of the books I want to read for reviews, for example, are available on audio book. Hopefully this month I can catch up on my TBR pile :)

December To Be Read:

I listed most of my TBR for next month on last week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, but I also plan on finishing the books on my Back to the Classics list, which includes North & South, The Journey to the Center of the Earth, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Things I’m Looking Forward To In December:

  • Matt and I celebrate our 3rd Anniversary later this month! Hopefully we can spend a 3 day weekend somewhere nice.
  • CHRISTMAS! But mostly Christmas decorating! I love Christmas, but I really love getting ready for Christmas. Usually we would have gotten our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but we were busy visiting family, so we’re doing that one night this week instead and I AM EXCITED! Matt and I have a tradition of decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies, and watching It’s A Wonderful Life :)

What were some of your favorite moments/books from November??

October Highlights

October was a big month for me. I dealt with a lot of different transitions as my husband and I entered our second month of living in the States. I revamped my blog, I discovered a lot of things about myself, and I came to some conclusions about where I want the future to take me.

Here are some of my highlights from the month of October:

I read 10 books this month!
thegeographyofyouandme dearmrknightley Adobe Photoshop PDF peterpanannotated
   lola isla grimmlegacy grimmmemories
I have now exceeded my 2014 reading challenge goal of 45 books by reading 65 total.

Favorite Read:
secondchancesummer

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

As always, Morgan Matson’s writing impacted me deeply. This book more so than her other two. It’s one of those books that I label as “life-changing.”

Least Favorite Read:
theoneandonly

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Normally I don’t post negative reviews, but I couldn’t even finish reading Emily Giffin’s latest book. It’s really long, slow-moving, and morally questionable.

Favorite TV Show:
As hinted at by this post, my husband and I started watching Supernatural and we’re hooked! We’re already halfway through the second season. I love Sam & Dean!

But on a lighter note, Green Gables Fables is my favorite current YouTube series and a couple of weeks ago they released this video which has been my favorite of the series so far. If you’re not familiar with Anne of Green Gables, this is the follow-up to my favorite scene from the book.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/r732LUuTiEk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Most Popular Post:
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Totally Want To Be For Halloween
But my post on Sleepy Hollow last year was also really popular this month.

Favorite Memories From October:

  • Trick-or-Treaters!! This is probably the first Halloween I was able to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and I never thought I would enjoy it so much! At first I was worried we wouldn’t have any kids come by, because this neighborhood is fairly small and out in the middle of the woods. But we actually had quite a lot! And they all had such amazing and cute costumes. And Solo was there to greet each kid that said “Trick-or-Treat!” and I think they were more into petting him than getting any candy :)
  • This month I also got to spend a lot of time with my family, which I really needed. Even though we didn’t do anything big or exciting, it as a lot of fun just watching football with my dad and brother, going shopping with my mom, and going to the movies or out to dinner with everyone.
  • Earlier in October Matt finally received his green card! Now if only we could find jobs…

November To Be Read:

thetroublewithflirting thebeautifulamerican waroftheworlds
                    loveunexpected amostinconvenientmarriage

Things I’m Looking Forward To In November:

  • This week I have a job interview! It’s my first positive result from my job search so far. I’ve applied to so many jobs and received a few negative responses, but yesterday I finally received some good news. I know nothing is guaranteed yet, but it’s still encouraging to make it this far.
  • Next weekend is YALL Fest! It’s my first book conference/event and I’m going with my friend Regina @ The Sunflower Pages. There will be several of my favorite authors there, but I think I’m most excited about Rainbow Rowell and Ann Brashares. I’ll post all about it afterwards!
  • This is the month of THANKSGIVING! Last year I did my daily 30 Days of Thankfulness posts, which I won’t be doing again this year, but I encourage you all to think about what you’re thankful for this month & to share those things with others :) I’m thankful for my family, because without them I’d be lonely, miserable, and homeless.

What were some of your favorite highlights from October?