Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Loving lately; add it to my list link up

I am eager to get rid of January. It was a crappy month and I like the clean slate a new month brings, even if things don't necessarily change, I feel like they do. Plus, February is birthday month! Got a few things planned. But for now, thought I'd join in on Lauren & Bre's link up with things I've been loving lately and want to recommend.

The Vicar of Dibley - my mother in law loves this show, and as we are currently living with her, I kept walking by and seeing snippets or sitting down and watching a few minutes with her. It never really seemed like my kind of show but eventually I started it from the beginning by myself and some episodes were eh and others had me laughing so hard I was crying. One episode had me crying so hard not from laughter. But overall, lots of laughter.

Even though it went from 1994-2007, it only has 5 seasons with a couple of them only having 2 or 4 episodes. So it's not a huge undertaking. It's definitely an acquired taste, but I really enjoyed it. It's a pretty silly show.

Bonus: It has Richard Armitage in it.

Aldi tortelloni & trader joes pasta sauce - look, we all have super lazy meals, right? At least mine isn't McDonalds... anymore. I used to shop at Aldi all the time back home, but I only just tried the US version and I discovered this tortelloni (I kept calling it tortellini, but apparently there's a difference). It's only $1.50, 1 package of that and half a jar of TJ's pasta sauce ($2.99) and I have dinner (for me only) in 10 minutes for $3. Sometimes if I'm feeling wild, I sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

No, it's probably not the healthiest option, but it's quick, cheap & easy. They have a cheese one if you don't dig mushrooms.

Playstation Vue - I did a post on Sling TV and literally the next day we tried out Playstation Vue and cancelled Sling. Sorry Sling. It's basically the same thing, an internet based TV service that's oodles cheaper than cable. It's more expensive than Sling ($35 a month vs $20) but it's way better - you can DVR (for 28 days), the quality is a million times better, it never cuts out, there are more channels and SUBTITLES. I'm sure there are other benefits, but those are the most important to us.

You don't need a playstation to get it, but you do need a smart TV or roku/amazon fire stick thingy etc. We just use the playstation we have, and keep the fire stick thingy with our spare TV (that is not being used right now because we are in one big room).

We have the core slim. Prices vary depending on location, so for $35 it's still like $100 cheaper than cable for us, but in some areas it might be more expensive ($50+) and your cable might be cheaper.

Loving yourself - I'm not quiet about the fact that everyone should love themselves. Life is too short to spend it with someone you don't even like. I could go on and on about it, but I saw this the other day and immediately took a screenshot. If I could wave a magic wand and make everyone accept and love themselves, I would.

So yes, I recommend loving yourself. It's the best thing I ever did for myself.

Books! I'll talk more about them in SUYB, but I've read a few good books since the last link up. Two I absolutely adored, gobbled up and wanted to live in the world and never leave. One of them is an acquired taste (fantasy romance) and the other is below - The Hating Game. I highly recommend if you like romantic comedies. It was super cute and adorable and funny and I loved it.

I can't remember who originally recommended it whether it was SUYB or another post, thank you for sharing!

Also, just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us - this Thursday the 2nd is the next What's New With You link up.

What's New With You

Am I the only one who does the crazy lazy dinners? Surely not... right? If you do, what's your favourite?

Friday, January 27, 2017

5 years an expat

Today marks 5 years since I got on a plane in Sydney to go live in Kentucky for a year. I had big dreams for what I would do when the year was up, and none of them included staying in Kentucky.

To be perfectly honest, this month has been the worst in my expat life. But it would be horrible whether I was at home in Sydney or living in another state instead of another country. When bad things happen, they are bad no matter where you are. It's just extra salt on the wound that I cannot easily be with my family (or quickly or cheaply for that matter). 

I almost went home but everyone assured me there is no need. It would really hurt our finances after booking our summer trip, but of course money is nothing when you need to be with the people you love. I am not trying to complain - things are getting better and there is no reason for me to worry. It's still hard and I still feel sad about not being home right now.

Since things are improving every day, I am trying to focus on getting back into the swing of things and pretending to be normal again. I'm not normally a very positive person, but I have been fairly positive about everything that's happened because there was no other option. But I haven't been very positive about the rest of my life, so I'm trying to focus on that now.

Starting with talking about the good things that have happened in the last 5 years - and there have been many. 

First and most importantly, I have 3 cats. I mean, these girls are the light of my life.

I have the strongest friendships I've ever had in my life. I haven't really made new friends here, only blogging friendships which totally count, but as for my immediate-local-group, quality is more important than quantity. I'm lucky I knew these girls before I moved here, it made moving a lot easier.

I owned my own home - something I had no plans to do back home because renting is more common and easy. It's not something I ever imagined I'd be able to do, but we did it, and then we sold it. House #2 coming soon hopefully (haven't been bothered looking with everything going on).

I've been able to travel - around the US, around the world and back home. Travel is cheaper because things are closer. Except home of course, that's just as expensive, and I've only managed to go back once, but my mum has come twice (three if you include the wedding). Second trip home booked for this June.

There have been many more things not shown above - I've survived snow and tornado warnings, I've attended Derby/Oaks each year, I've met famous people and attended concerts that I couldn't have in Aus, I've tried new foods and gained 30lbs, I've worked 3 jobs, paid bills and lots of dollars to immigration. People always ask me why I moved here when Australia is so awesome, and I have 2 things to say to that (well 3, as I always joke that Australia isn't that awesome):

1. Life is the same anywhere. You work, pay your bills, hang out at home watching TV and get caught up in the mundane. I moved from one country to a similar one (in some aspects anyway). It doesn't feel that different to me. Of course, if I'd moved somewhere exotic, it might be different.
2. Home is where the heart is. I straight up would not be living here if it weren't for KC. Everything else is a bonus, and I love it all, but I'd be home if I wasn't married to him. But with him, I am home (I never said I wasn't sappy). He's my favourite person on the entire planet. He makes me laugh and he makes me happy. He keeps me in line when I'm likely to go crazy, but he's always up for doing things that I want to do and pretending he loves them just as much. He has kept me sane during the past month. He brings out the best in me and handles the worst. He's my person. Getting back together was the best thing we ever did, and I wouldn't change a thing.

March 2012 / July 2013 / December 2016

Happy expativersary to me. Here's to the next 5 years! Can't wait to see what they have in store for me..

Also, thank you to everyone's kind words about the bad things I'm going through. I'm not trying to be vague, it's just not something I want to put on the internet. I really do appreciate it though, and things are improving every day which is great news.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Books Lately

Happy first Show Us Your Books in 2017! I read a lot since the last link up. I had some bad things happen and I'm the kind of person that needs to stay busy in times like that, but I'm too frazzled to actually do anything. Books are the best kind of 'something' because I can do something while sitting on the couch or curled up in bed, it keeps my mind occupied without doing anything. If I'm out somewhere and I start to freak out, I just open my kindle app or turn on an audiobook and focus on that instead of whatever I'm thinking about. I'm not in denial or anything, I just tend to over think things and stress myself out for no reason. I'm not trying to be vague, just not ready to talk about it yet. So I read, read and read some more. Sometimes it backfires and I hate the book, but for the most part, it helps. All that to say, lots of books in this post, so, shall we?

Red Rising Trilogy - Pierce Brown - 5 Stars
sci-fi dystopian, society based on colours, kinda hunger games-ish

Such a good trilogy! Normally I read series back to back if I have them all, but I needed several books in between each one of these because they are so intense. Can't even explain why I loved these so much.
The Rose Garden - Susanna Kearsley - 5 Stars
time travel historical fiction romance

I freaking adored this book. Gobbled it up. Loved it. Didn't even expect a twist, let alone see it coming. Wish the ending was a bit more fleshed out, but other than that, seriously, loved it. Highly recommend if you like historical fiction or books with time travel.

Read for Erin's challenge - time travel category.
The Smell of Other People's Houses - Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - 4 Stars
set in alaska in 1970s and I can't really explain anything else about it

This book was really good. The cover is gorgeous, the title is interesting, the synopsis.... eh. I didn't think I would like it as much as I did, and I love when that happens. It's quite a short book, beautifully written, I am not normally good with multiple POVs but they all worked and I love how the author tied everything and everyone together in the end.

Read for Erin's challenge - 6 word title category.
Dark Matter - Blake Crouch - 5 Stars NetGalley
complete and utter mind f*ck

SO good. Interesting, fast paced, terrifying, overwhelming, with a touch of feel good. Full of sciencey stuff that went straight over my head, but told in a way that made it okay to not fully understand it.

Read for Erin's challenge - genre you rarely read category.

Did You Ever Have a Family - Bill Clegg - 4 Stars
multiple people connected by heartbreak and tragedy.

More like 4.5 but not quite 5 for me. Very emotional story.  
Never Never - Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher - 5/4/3 Stars
two people lose their memory at the same time, don't know why or how

I haven't read a lot of Colleen Hoover books, but enough to know that when I started reading this series, it wasn't like her usual stuff. I could not put them down! But - spoiler - NOTHING is answered - WTF. The first book was like omg what is happening, I am so intrigued! The second book.. nothing new, more of the same. What. The third book? No resolution, just magically happily fixed. What the actual shit. I don't recommend them but I couldn't put them down.

Three Amazing Things About You - Jill Mansell - 4 Stars -  NetGalley
three women, three stories, all connected, rom com-ish

Totally adorable. I have read 2 other Jill Mansell books and they were all fun, light, the right amount of cheese. I was reading this one in public and I face palmed at one point because I was so embarrassed for one of the characters, and someone asked me what was wrong. Ha. It really was a fun, enjoyable read, and if you like 'chick-lit', I recommend.
Something like Normal - Trish Doller - 4 Stars 
marine comes home on leave, deals with best friend's death

I quite enjoyed this, very quick, pretty enjoyable. I have no idea what it's like to be a marine (or anyone else in the military) but I kept asking KC questions and he kept saying nope. Obviously not every marine and their experience is the same, but it was a bummer nonetheless because I so rarely read things that I can talk to KC about. Regardless of that, I quite enjoyed this. Heavy subject but enjoyable read.

Read for Erin's challenge - freebie category.
Persuading Annie - Melissa Nathan - 4 Stars
modern day persuasion retelling

Super adorable, different enough from Persuasion to be its own story, but the familiarity was there. I will say, Jake's note was nothing compared to Wentworth's original letter, and I'm bummed the author ruined that, especially with the spelling errors but eh. Overall, adorable.
The Hypnotist's Love Story - Liane Moriarty  - 4 Stars 
hypnotherapist meets a guy who happens to have a stalker. 

If you compare this to Big Little Lies or What Alice Forgot, you'll be disappointed. But honestly, I really enjoyed this story - of course, I always love the Australianisms Liane uses, but on top of that, I just plain enjoyed it. Much more than The Last Anniversary. It was perfectly enjoyable and passed the time just fine. 
When All The Girls Have Gone - Jayne Ann Krentz - 4 Stars - NetGalley
cozy romantic mystery

I really enjoyed this one, much more than her other book (Secret Sisters). I think if you read a lot of mystery, it might be too 'cozy' or predictable for you, but I was super into it and really enjoyed it.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick - 3 Stars
honest, sad, lonely, heartbreaking

I am super conflicted about this one. Once I got into it, I couldn't put it down, and some parts of it were so heartbreaking and I felt so much for this fictional character, but other parts, I wanted to hit the main character over the head, which I admit isn't very nice of me.

From Manhattan with Love series - Sarah Morgan - 4 Stars NetGalley
three books, three friends, three happily ever afters

Totally adorable and predictable, exactly what I expected and needed. Super cute.
Burn Baby Burn - Meg Medina - 3 Stars
ya set in new york 1977 - serial killer & black out

I don't know if some of it kind of went over my head or didn't scare me because I knew nothing about what actually happened (or even that it did until I was finished), I don't know how accurate it is. One of the characters reminded me too much of someone in my own family and it made me antsy. Overall it was an enjoyable read.
The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan  - 3 Stars 
a love story told in a-z definition format

Very different from anything I've ever read and jumps all over the place. Super quick read, emotional and honest, but not exceptional.
kinda like sweet home alabama

Lordy I feel sorry for this book. I was in a not great place and I don't think anything would have survived my mood. I love fluffy light books but I think my mood made me pick at every little detail and everything annoyed me. A few days later I didn't hate it as much and I could see that it was a cute, enjoyable read, just at a very bad time for me.

Always - Sarah Jio - 2 Stars - NetGalley 
woman's ex boyfriend vanished, turns up years later as a homeless man

I thought this book was awful. I hate to sound harsh, but seriously. It made me cringe so many times and was just written really poorly. There were also a few plot holes and some things really bugged me. Not a fan.
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple - 2 Stars - NetGalley
woman is a hot mess

Unfortunately, I was not a fan of this one at all. Thank goodness it was super quick, otherwise I would have given up for sure. The ending annoyed me.

Soundless - Richelle Mead - 2 Stars
everyone is deaf, they start going blind, surprise, they were lied to

You know that emoji with the monkey covering his eyes? That's how I feel about the way I feel about this book. I wanted to like it. I tried to go in with normal expectations even though I've only seen negative reviews.. but I just didn't like it. I thought it was boring. Boo.
Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison  - 2 Stars
witches and vampires and stuff

I'm so bummed I didn't like this one, as it's pretty popular... but I must be missing something. I thought it was pretty boring, and the things that were somewhat entertaining didn't end up making any sense. I know with series you want to keep readers guessing, but to have absolutely nothing in the first book resolved or making any sense just doesn't make me want to continue reading. Bummer.

Read for Erin's challenge - homonym category.

I also read Congratulations, By the Way which was super short and can hardly be considered a book but I still wanted to share it because it is so worth it to read something like that, we all know these things but it's nice to be reminded to err in the direction of kindness.

Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I would recommend Dark Matter to everyone, even if you don't like sci-fi. I'd also recommend the Red Rising trilogy, even if it doesn't sound like your jam. The Rose Garden if you like historical fiction romance, and basically everything else if it sounds like your jam.

Read anything decent lately?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

December Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Time for another What's New With You link up with Gretch & I! No real rules, all we ask is that you link back to us somewhere in your post - easy peasy. I'll be doing another monthly recap, since that's my jam. 

What's New With You

To be perfectly honest, I suffered from the winter blahs in December and really just felt.. well, blah. It was a weird month.

It started off pretty fabulously with officially selling our house.

 Got my hair done..

Went on a fun date-day to Panera & the movies to see Rogue One.

Had several hot chocolates with more and more whipped cream each time.

Started officially planning NZ & Oz. We booked our flights on the 30th!

Christmas was good - I finally convinced my mum to video call and got to speak with her and my nana. My mum kept holding the phone so all I could see was the ceiling fan. I took some screenshots but they'd be super cranky with me if they found out I put them on the internet.

We ended the year with friends, stayed out way later than I have in a long, long, long time.

A few workout snaps... one of those is after KC ran for the first time in 6 years. Not a lot, for like 10 seconds 5 or 6 times around the neighbourhood, but it was a big deal. Hopefully he'll be able to start running properly soon, but he's taking it easy because of his ankle injury (what made him stop back then).

aaaand some cat snaps.

If you'd like to link up with us, please do so below:

So, what's new with you?