Monday, January 11, 2016

December Rewind {2015}

Read:  Man, I was all over the place bookwise this month. First, I discovered my new found love for comic books. I quickly devoured Lumberjanes Volume 1 & 2, Giant Days Volume 1 and Nimona which is more of a graphic novel.  These lovelies brought so much laughter and general happiness to my life.  In fact, any time I get crabby now, my husband suggest I buy a new comic book. They just put me in the best of moods! I can't even pick a favorite from them, they were all so great in their own ways! I also read a few contemporary YA novels: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno, Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway and Made You Up, by Francesca Zappia.  I had read another book by Katie Cotugno earlier in the year and LOVED it. She is really able to portray how messy relationship can be if you let them and 99 Days was no exception. You root for the characters but at the same time you are disappointed in their decisions.  Emmy & Oliver was a super cute read too.  It is amazing how one person's decision making can affect so many people around them.  But I've saved Made You Up for last because I loved it the most.  Mental illness is no joke and this book did a great job of portraying someone trying to get through life dealing with schizophrenia.  The brain is an amazing thing! Out of the 3, this is one I'd recommend to anyone.  The male character was also really interesting in a villianish type of way. I give all the stars to Made You Up! 

Watched:   Superstore.  In mid December, Charter put the first 2 episodes On Demand for people to view before the actual season started in January.  It is about people working at a store similar to Walmart (obviously) and the first couple of episodes were hilarious.  I also thought it was super cool that the show is set in St. Louis, which is super close to home.  One of the producers of The Office is also responsible for this show so I'm not too surprised I fell in love with it immediately. But man, I know what I'm starting this month! (See Heather's Watched below!)

Listening:  Demetri Martin comedy special on Netflix.  I have been a Demetri fan for years now.  I love his simply, play on words comedy that he does.  A good pun will always get a chuckle out of me.  He used to have his own show on comedy central 5+ years ago so I was super pumped to see he had a new Netflix special. And he didn't disappoint. He is still funny as hell.

Also this month: 
1. White Christmas Tree.  Friends, this might not seem like something super special but let me explain. As you know I have 5 cats. The first year the husband and I were living together I attempted to put up a tree.  Back then we only had 2 kittens.  It was a complete disaster. The tree was overturned and destroyed on so many occasions I eventually just put it away and said the hell with this tradition, especially since we adopted 3 more kitties.  Well, I've been drooling over white trees the last couple of years and toying with the idea of trying the tree thing again.  So this year I did and my kitties did great.  It is like they have matured or something.  They enjoyed laying on the quilt I impromptu used as a tree skirt so I obviously didn't have a lot of tree decorations.  The only compromise I had to make with the husband was only using cat friendly ornaments which was no problem since that meant I got to craft all new ornaments!
2. Work Christmas Party.  This year, Tracy was in charge of our work party and she did a fantastic job.  She organized a ugly sweater contest, had a photo booth and we had a horse drawn wagon ride with hot chocolate. I ended up crafting a skirt out of a Christmas tree skirt and added a petticoat to make it stand out. First, petticoats are one of the most uncomfortable fashion accessories.  Also, my outfit was deemed to cute to win so next year I'm really going to have to trash my outfit up more instead of going to cute and crafty.  Hands down, best work Christmas party to date.
3. Christmas Celebrations.  Ahhh, the holidays are always such a busy time for us.  To me, it feel like everyone wants their special time with everyone so it can be tricky to make time for everyone/thing! Overall I had a really good Christmas. This was the first year we didn't have any Christmas Eve plans so it was really nice just to hang out, play games and watch the 70's Show together before the ruckus of Christmas really started.  Both Moms in my life did a great job with respective Toms and Uggs gifts.  My husband told me to spend $200ish however I wanted to I bought AE jeggings, some Rue 21 and some Forever 21 including a pair of overalls I'm way too excited about.  Who knew watching Friends could get so expensive. I'm so obsessed with the fashion on that show.  My sister and I also was able to squeeze in our bow head tradition and the rest of my siblings decided to get in on that action which will hopefully become our new sibling tradition. 
{From top left: STL Wild Lights with my favorites, festive photos by the tree, seeing The Force Awakens, and my Christmas gifts being put to good use} 

  I read a few books outside of book club picks this month. Rant by Chuck Palahniuk, which was strange, and The Sister's Brothers by Patrick DeWitt which was great. I might try to talk about both of them in a solo book chat sometime this month. I also checked out the Calendar Girls series by Audrey Carlan, which is completely out of my usual reading zone. It's about a woman who decides to be an escort for a year to help clear debts for her father. While escort definitely conjures up negative connotations, and I won't deny that parts of it can be steamy and sexy, she isn't always sleeping with the men and I found the series interesting and a pretty feminist read if you are looking for something along the lines of Fifty Shades of Gray but actually sexy. The books came out one per month for 2015 and I stopped with July, because I'm not sure I love where the story is going. But at less than 200 pages each I'm sure I will finish it up at some point. 

Watched:   Making a Murderer on Netflix. OMG guys this show is straight up bonkers. If you haven't caught on to the hype yet or seen everyone you know talking about it on social media, it's a Netflix original documentary series that follows the story of Steven Avery, a man wrongly convicted for a crime who spent 18 years in jail. After being out for 2 years, he is again convicted of a crime, this time for murder. It follows the trial and the story is crazy. It even sucked Jarrett in when I started the first episode without him. If you were obsessed with the Serial podcast or find true crime interesting, this is for you. I actually think everyone should watch it, it's just so crazy and never boring. 

Listening:  The Hamilton cast recording is still on a pretty heavy rotation in my house, but I also got back into podcasts this month and have been catching up on Faculty of Horror. Andrea Subisatti and Alexandra West tackle different horror movies in a variety of ways, sometimes using compare and contrast, sometimes just going over interesting parts of movies. I'm on the 17th episode right now and really loving the feminist perspective on different horror movies, while also finding new movies I need to check out. I'm also finding myself going over my opinion on different movies and revisiting them and really thinking about them in ways I haven't before. This is definitely a podcast for horror fans. 

Also this month: 

1. St. Louis Zoo Wild Lights I've lived an hour from St. Louis almost my whole life but this was the first year we went to the Wild Lights they set up for the holidays. Jarrett scored us a Groupon and we went on a Thursday night, which was perfect. My beebs loved it and we all just had a fantastic time. The lights they had set up were all really beautiful and definitely worth seeing. Most of the animals were not out to see but we did get to go in the penguin house and check out those guys. 

2. Turning 29 At the beginning of December I turned 29. It was a blast coming up with new goals for the year and I've really felt more reflective than normal on my life and the direction it's going. I feel like I'm ready to make some big changes this year and even just making that decision has felt so freeing. Jarrett also took my out in STL for a birthday dinner at Rooster, a place we enjoyed brunch at earlier in the year but unfortunately dinner was only ok. I got some gnocchi that rocked my socks but we went with our vegan friends who didn't have as many options, which was a huge bummer. I'm still marking Rooster down as one of my favorite brunch spots in the city. 

3. Christmas and Chinese Food  This year it worked out that the girl's dad got them for Christmas. Our usual plan since we split up is doing Christmas morning together, which their dad and his girlfriend joined me and Jarrett for a Christmas morning extravaganza that the girls loved. Once they left with their dad for the day, Jarrett and I had a super chill Christmas. We ended up going to the Chinese buffet in town and it was actually pretty fun. I've never spent Christmas at home like that before so it was really nice to exchange gifts and just relax and have fun together. I'm hoping it might become a tradition we continue. 

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