Thursday, May 31, 2018

Book Club Discussion Catch Up {April & May}

Welcome to part two of our book club catch up! 2018 has been such a varied year for book club and I have been dying to talk about these books with people. Jen and I always talk about what we think, but I'm hoping this gets us back in the habit of posting monthly on the blog. So let's dive in to the April and May book club selections. 

April

Heather Says
I made Jen stop reading this book so we could read it for book club in March. I had it on my kindle for months and thought it was the perfect reason to finally read it. If I'm being honest (which, duh of course I'm gonna be honest) this was not my favorite. Alosa is the title mentioned daughter of the pirate king who lets herself get captured to search for a map for her father. She is able to pick locks and spends nights out of her cell searching the ship, along with building a romance with the second in command, Riden. She also has a secret: she's half siren. So this all sounds like it should add up to a fun romp, but it's actually kind of boring and unbelievable. The siren thing gets dropped in out of nowhere and it feels like something that we should know but there's literally no build up to it. The romance feels a little too insta-love to me, and I just had a hard time with the writing in general. It didn't really flow as much as I would like and it felt like so much of the novel was surface level stuff instead of diving into back story and motivation. I do not think I will read the sequel, but I'm glad I got to read this with Jen. 

Jen Says: 
I read this book during a very emotion time and I kind of wonder if that factors into my opinion on this book. I felt like I liked the first half of the book pretty ok - I even remember thinking bring on this sexy female pirate! But then instead of her sexiness being a ploy to trick men, we discovered she was a half siren and once I learned that I wanted to chuck my kindle out the window. I thought the second half of the book felt choppy and a lot of character facts were suddenly introduced that made no sense and derailed the story. I thought the book ended pretty suddenly and I refused to even look to see if a sequel was on the author's radar. Heather vented to me it was and I have since vowed I'll never continue this series. Thinking back, I won't be breaking that vow.


May

Heather Says 
This was on my fall TBR in 2017 and I never got around to it, so I was really happy Jen was on board to read it for book club in May. I devoured this in one day at the Lake of the Ozarks last weekend. It was storming on and off so I lost myself in this absolute treat of a book. It's a retelling on Cinderella, so there are definitely some plot points you know will come (evil stepmother & step sisters, losing a slipper, a ball, one of the step sisters destroying Cinderella's stuff before a big event, ect.) but it was such a fun twist on an old tale. Elle lives with her step mother and step sisters in her house that her dad left her when he died. Her dad introduced her to Starfield, a scifi show that reminded me of Battlestar Galactica/Star Trek, and founded a Con for it way back when. Elle just wants to work on The Magic Pumpkin, a vegan food truck, and save money to escape when she turns 18, but when the casting for the new Starfield remake is announced, she decided to enter a cosplay contest to honor her parents (they met at a con and were big into cosplaying). Along the way she makes some friends and falls in love and basically makes me want to cosplay and go to more cons. It was such a sweet book and I loved all the geeky references and the fandom love that oozed out of the pages. This book is taking a place on my bookshelf so I can reread it again. 

Jen Says 
I've been trying to be more mindful about purchases lately so I was able to score the audiobook at the library. First off, I am an absolute sucker for fairytale retellings. I just love them. Especially Cinderella probably because they all have the happiest of endings. I also die over random hookups because I despise tales of fate. This story instantly made me think of the Hilary Duff/Chad Michael Murray retelling. I loved that so much of this story entailed a fandom. Everyone of us can be guilty of becoming a little too involved in fandoms (hello Harry Potter). I absolutely loved the narrators of the story and every time I turned it on it brought me instant happiness.  The ending almost caused my heart to burst. This magical book is inspiring me to want to connect with my fellow nerds and get my con on too. I also might have to buy a physical copy because this book was seriously everything I needed this month.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Book Club Discussion Catch Up {January-March}

Hey book lovers! You are probably thinking, "for a book themed blog, these people do not really post what they thought of the books they picked." That is a totally fair observation this year. Last year we tried a few different ways to review the books we picked for the blog, but none of them felt super great (in my opinion) and then it just kind of fell to this side this year so far.

But what is the point of reading these books if we can't share what we thought? So to catch up, we will do two posts talking about our thought on our book club picks so far. Right now we have January, February, and March so let's jump in!

January

Heather Says
I went in with some mixed feelings with this one. I was hopeful because it was Leigh Bardugo and she rarely disappoints, plus the Wonder Woman movie blew me away so I wasn't sure what I could expect from this YA interpretation. This book follows a younger Diana, eager to prove herself as worthy to her mother and the other Amazons. While running a race, she sees a shipwreck outside the barrier and risks everything to save a drowning girl. What happens next is a story of friendship, power, and finding your own path. I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book and was itching for more young Diana tales. I don't think it's super in line with the movie and I'm not familiar enough with the comics to tell you if it fits in there, but it was such a great story of figuring out who you are outside of expectations that get put on you. 

Jen Says: 
I know Wonder Woman was the feminist movie of the year last year, but per usual I found out pretty late in the game about it and didn't embrace it as well as my feminist heart should have.  I was so pumped to hear about this novel and the upcoming novels (focusing on different super heroes) that I was so excited this worked out for our first book of the year. I went in having zero expectations and fell into a book that makes you want to shuck all preconceived notions and embrace doing things for the greater good.  I also really loved learning about the Amazonian way of life. I could use a Diana in my life.

February

Heather Says
Comic book month! This was one I was looking forward to, since we could read as many comics as I wanted. Unfortunately, I only read two comics this month, and then read like 10 in March. The ones I got to in February were Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe. The Archie reimagining was really fun, though I did have a hard time separating this story from the show Riverdale, which I'm very in to right now. It was great though and I can't wait to borrow the second issue from Jen eventually (HA!). The Squirrel Girl comic was SO. MUCH. FUN. It's a stand alone part of the series and it pulled in a lot of different characters (like Ant-Man!) and for a little bit I wasn't sure Squirrel Girl would remain unbeatable. I'm so in love with these comics and I'm so glad Jen buys so many so I can always borrow from her. 

Jen Says: 
I literally squealed when Heather suggested a comic book month. Comic books are my jam and I find it so easy to get lost in the illustrations and witty commentary. In hopes to keep my budget in check, I read comics and graphic novels I was able to score at the library.  The exception was Lumberjanes 8, which never disappoints. I read the Tea Dragon Society which was adorable and made me want a tea sized dragon so bad until I realized by cats would probably eat it because they are the worst. The girls lent me "Swing It, Sunny" which was cute as hell. I also read In Real Life and Seconds which I remember both liking but weren't super memorable unfortunately. I haven't bought any comics lately (being a grown up is lame) but I think I need to reinstitute 1 new comic every payday because I miss the happiness they bring my life.

March


Heather Says
Jen suggested Hidden Figures for March book club and I was so excited for this pick! I cried and cheered during the movie, so I was pumped to read the novel it was based on. Plus I was trying to get into audiobooks again so when I saw I could get it from the library (via Hoopla) I was ready. I spent a week learning about these amazing women who worked for NASA but got zero acknowledgement for their accomplishments until recently. Women are still under represented in STEM fields, and to know these women of color changed the world, it's inspiring as hell. 

Jen Says 
It's so weird, because when I read I almost always will grab a fiction book but if I'm in the mood to listen to my stories I'll also download something non-fiction or a biography type book. I really think this helps round out my reading so I'm not just reading summer vacation type books. I hadn't seen the movie, but this story instantly reminded me of Good Girls Revolt (that got canceled on amazon after 1 season which was a damn travesty).  I was so unaware so many women of color shaped NASA and I was so humbled to learn about their triumphs even though at the time they didn't get any recognition for it.  This post reminds me that I need to make watching the movie as my next tv priority. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

April Rewind


Read
Man, April was a really slow reading month for me.  I read our book club pick, Daughter of a Pirate King, which I really didn't enjoy and the latest Paper Girls which was very entertaining.  May is already proving to be better in the book department.

Watched
When life seems uncertain and overwhelming, I highly suggest a rewatch of The Office.  I also recommend the new stand up by Natasha Leggero and her husband (haha) Moshe Kasher.  It was very funny and I love watching them combine their comedic styles.

Listened 
I've been on an audiobook kick, thank you library.  I listened to Thankful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, Are You There Alone? The Andrea Yates story by Suzanne O'Malley and The Actor's Life by Jenna Fischer.  I enjoyed each and every one of these books but I think Andrea Yates story was my favorite. It is so perverse with such horrible religious undertones, yet so many people failed her and the children. I highly recommend it.


Also this month
Unemployed Husband
Just a couple of days before Heather's wedding, my husband quit his job.  The company was suddenly restructured and things were just going downhill fast.  I completely support him in his decision but all the uncertainty, plus the jarring change to my everyday routine has my anxiety completely our of sorts.  Luckily he has a new job lined up so

My Bestie Got Hitched
Ahhhhhhh! It happened and it was such a happy day. Really, the entire weekend was so much fun with all the different wedding events. Lots of socializing is very much out of my comfort zone but I was so happy to be there with Heather and I had so much fun bonding with both of her sisters. 

Family Photos
My sister has the cutest little dog family ever and she asked me to help her get some family photos taken.  They are equal parts ridiculous and adorable.  Heather was great and let me borrow her camera and then edited the photos afterwards.  I think I might even print a few up to display.



Read
This was a pretty bad month for books. My anxiety was through the roof with wedding stuff so I found it really hard to focus on reading. I did read the fantastic series on Jenny Trout's blog on 50 Shades of Grey and how terrible it is. It was such a good way to keep reading something while at the same time destressing. 

Watched
My media consumption really picked up after my wedding. Jarrett and I spent a few days binging The Sopranos. We are on the last season and I am very into it. We also started catching up on Marvel movies in preparation for the new Avengers movie. We only have 3 more left and I'm so glad we did this since I would not have remembered all the plot points leading up to this. 

Listened 
I've gotten really into Oh No! Ross and Carrie again after taking a break. Their Scientology series was amazing and I got back into it with their flat earther series. They do an amazing job of balancing their skepticism with their openness for other's points of view. Especially in their in person interviews. They never come across and mean or rude, just people who don't really agree with you but respect you. I highly recommend it! 


Also this month
 Ada turns 1
My favorite baby turned one this month and we got to celebrate with donuts, cupcakes, and mimosas (not for babies). It was so fun to party with our friends and to see Ada open all her gifts (mostly books). Plus the girls always love seeing Ada and there were other kids there so they were in heaven. 

Married AF
The biggest thing to happen this month was definitely our wedding. It feels almost like giving birth. You cry a lot and have all these plans and then the day gets here (or baby) and you forget all about how hard it was because the day was so perfect. It was seriously a perfect day. I felt so beautiful and could not stop smiling the whole day. It was fantastic. I can't wait to share more with you! 

Bachelorette vibes 
One of my favorite parts of my wedding weekend was my bachelorette party. My friends planned a delicious dinner with wine & pasta. I laughed so hard and got to catch up with friends I don't see too often. I'm so happy to be surrounded by so many badass ladies (and that I got to wear matching mustard lace with Jen!) 


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May Small Goals



Hey-o blog friends! April ended up being the month we took a blogging break It was unintentional but with the wedding, I just had to put some things to the side and blogging was one of them. Now we are back and ready to tackle some small goals. We didn't have any in April, so let's review what we got done in March & see what we have on deck for May. As always, we are linking up with Nicole at Feel Good, Dress Better. Be sure to go check out everyone's goals on her post! 


Jen's March Goals
1. List clothing on Poshmark Done. I listed a few things and sold a few things. Not a great stream of extra money, but it is a nice to recoup a little money out of my past clothing love.
2. Spending Freeze This freeze has turned into an indefinite thing. 
3. Try Cantu Curling Products I've been trying to embrace my natural curls lately but I'm not loving any progress that I've made. I tried a couple of Cantu products and I really wasn't that impressed.
4.  Catch up on Backstagers Probably the easiest and most enjoyable of the goals.
5. TV Goals I can happily report that I am all caught up on Keeping up with the Kardashians and have restarted the office because its my go to when the world seems mixed up.

5/5 - this has to be a first probably due to some of the easiest goals yet

April Small Goals
1. Write at least once a week.  I used to love writing. I haven't done anything original in a while but I have a novel (haha) idea and its time to put pen to paper.
2. Explore Self Calming Techniques.  My life has been in a tailspin the last couple of weeks. When I'm pushed out of my normal routine I experience random panic attacks. I'm going to try to work on some self calming techniques to help during these situations.
3. Exercise and Meditation. I've once again fallen off the exercising bandwagon. Not only am I feeling bad about myself, I also think it helps my anxiety a bit. I'm going to try to take a little time every day to exercise or mediate.
4. Work on Decision Making Skills. I have zero decision making skills. Sometimes the smallest of decisions can be the hardest for me to determine. I feel constantly wishy washy and like I'm losing control. I'm going to try to be more mindful about making decisions this month instead of just going with the flow of things.
5. Continue Closet Clean Out.  I've been slowly combing through my closet and eliminating things that are just taking up space. I've eliminated all extra spending in my life and I think it'll be easier to clean out my closet and determine what I wear on the reg without constantly adding new pieces to my life.


Heather's March Small Goals 
1. All the wedding things I can't remember all of them but I got married and it was beautiful so March was successfully filled with all the last minute wedding projects that came together beautifully. 
2. Book a massage Ok so technically I did book a massage, but I ended up having to cancel it because of time/money concerns. Those last minute wedding costs sneak up on you but I'm hoping to make this happen in the next few weeks 
3. Exercise 3-4 times a week I wasn't consistent with it, but I did get some workouts in. Definitely not 3-4 a week. More like 1-2 (or sometimes zero). 
4. Organize my shoes I did this and then the next weekend my kids messed it all up again after playing Drag Race with my clothes. Oh well. It got done so I'm still counting it. 
5. Have a seester day I did not get to have a seester day with Ciara, but I did get lots of time with her during my wedding so I'm still happy. Maybe soon we can schedule something just the two of us. 

Ok so 2/5 is not great, but I'm giving myself a pass because wedding 

May Small Goals 
1. Start Couch to 5K Last year I got really into running at the end of summer/beginning of fall. Then winter hit and I did basically zero exercise. So I want to get back into running again and I really enjoyed the Couch to 5K app last year. 
2. Read 5 books I read maybe 2 books in April and it feels really weird. I had a hard time focusing on books with wedding stuff, so I'm hoping to get back into the groove of reading 1-2 books a week. 
3. Wear lipstick twice a week I own so much lipstick y'all and I wear it maybe twice a month? I can get self conscious of it, especially at work which has a really casual vibe. I want to start wearing it twice a week at least, to figure out favorite shades or get rid of ones that don't work. 
4. Restart the Feel Good, Dress Better workbook I never finished the FGDB workbook and when I opened it recently, I realized a lot of the outfits/most worn items in my closet and completely different now. I have been really into refining my personal style so I'd love to set aside some time to go through it again. 
5. Outfit plan for two trips I'm going to Nashville with work the first weekend in May then Chicago with Jarrett & friends Memorial weekend. I'm so excited for both trips and I want to pack some cute outfits for all those 'grams I'm gonna be taking. Hopefully getting through FGBD will help with this goal too. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Book Club


Welcome to another month of the coolest book club with about 2 members. IDK maybe more people read these books but if not, that's ok too. Jen and I did book club before the blog and we will keep doing it as long as we both shall live (book club vows I guess). 

This month I looked over all the poor unread books on my shelves and remembered this on that I had on my fall reading list that I never got to. Out jumped Geekerella by Ashley Poston. Jen was on board so here we are with a possibly fall themed book in May. Honestly I just wanted some cute YA book to kick off my summer reading so here we are. Hopefully you join us and we can talk about it soon! 

What's it about? 

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad's old costume, Elle's determined to win - unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons - before he was famous. Now they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake - until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom