Monday, April 30, 2018

Link Up Reminder

Hello all - just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 3rd is the next What's New With You link up, with just me, and I did create a new button. We'll go back to the old button or I can update this one if Gretch joins us again.

Hope you'll join me!

Grab button for What's New With You
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Friday, April 13, 2018


Happy Friday everyone! The last 2 weekends of April are going to be pretty busy for us, so we are doing absolutely nothing this weekend, and I can't wait. Might do some spring cleaning.

Thankful - for friends made through blogging and care packages. Thank you Erin! The lollies lasted less than 48 hours and I felt sick but happy afterwards.

Grocery budget update - we are not even halfway through the month and we are *this* close to our grocery budget, which means we can't buy much for the next 2 weeks if I want to actually stay under the budget I've set. The reason we are super close to it already is that I wanted to try and meal plan for an entire month, but then KC and his spring break foiled my plans (it's useless to meal plan when he's off) so I just did 3 weeks. We can still buy things like milk or produce, but other than that, we should use what we have and not go over our budget.

I looked through the fridge, freezer and pantry, recorded how many of each type of meat we had, any sauces or packs I wanted to use, and staples we needed (none because I am a hoarder but I still bought some because I'm a hoarder), then I wrote out breakfast, lunch and tea for each of us for those 3 weeks. As long as we stick to it, we'll be fine. 

It's not crazy rigid, we've already moved a thing or two around because KC ate out on a planning day and we had extra leftovers I hadn't planned on. I planned for eating out once a week and I included lazy pizza nights, plus the nights I'll be out and KC has to fend for himself (he's an adult, yes, but I'd really rather he ate exactly what I tell him to otherwise he ruins my meal plans) and a day and a half that we'll be out of town. 

Normally we go to Coscto once every 2 months... but we only get enough meat for 5-6 weeks, but then I don't want to go again until a new month starts (really hurts the budget) so I buy meat from Kroger instead. We don't really buy much else from Costco besides meat, rice, quinoa and canned foods like beans and diced tomatoes. I've tried Aldi, I want it to work for us like it seems to work for so many other people but every time I go they are out of most of the meat, they don't have other things we want or their prices aren't that much better compared to the inconvenience of driving out to Aldi (such an inconvenience, 5 miles away - but Kroger is literally, yes literally, a 10 minute walk/5 minute drive).

Phew, that's a lot. If this works - please Zeus let it work, I have literally never been under the grocery budget I set and I don't want to increase it! - my next goal is to try again for a whole month, then if that works, I'll be focusing on reducing it even more. Not that I have any idea where to start with that. I barely eat meat, our grocery budget would double if I ate my share of meat. KC eats enough to feed 3 people, I'm no slouch either. I don't drink soda at home anymore, KC still does, but Kroger's soda is super cheap so it's not like that's what's making us exceed the budget. There are definitely items we don't *need* like my sharwood's sauce or the kraft aioli I love to have with our fish.. but I don't want to give those things up, ugh.

Anywho, my trolley was overflowing just for 3 weeks. Shopping for May all at once should be interesting...

In the mood to spring clean - I wouldn't say that I love to clean, but sometimes I do. I definitely get in the mood at the beginning of autumn and spring. Now that spring actually seems to be almost here, I have plans to deep clean the house tomorrow and I'm weirdly excited. I've printed out a checklist but I know I won't really follow it... I just clean absolutely everything in one room and move to the next. But I ignore clutter, which is why I bookmarked Steph's post to remind me. We have way too much crap for only being in this house for one year!

Free book - Erin very kindly sent me her copy of Homegoing and I had just read it via the library earlier this month. I want to continue the passing on of the book, so let me know if you want it! From Australia to Kentucky, where to next? While I wouldn't say it was the most enjoyable book I've ever read, it was still a powerful book and it's worth your time.

I am sure I have asked before but if you have any - any! - grocery budget reducing tips, do share. I feel like I am doing all I can, but it's probably one of those things that I think that and in reality I am doing none of them. I know we could cut back on things like soda or sparkling water, or the fancy brand name things I don't want to give up. I want to have my cake and eat it too, you know? I want to buy all the things I currently buy, somehow reducing my expenditure drastically? You know?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Books Lately

Show Us Your Books day with Steph & JanaI don't share everything I read during the link up, so if you want to see all the books I read but don't talk about here (mostly romance books), lets be friends on goodreads!

Veronica Speedwell 1-3 - Deanna Raybourn
butterfly hunter and grumpy historian solve murders and go on adventures
I started reading this series because I thought it would be a trilogy, but it's not, it will be 5 books and that's annoying. I wish I would have waited, but I'm not super mad because all 3 of these were absolutely delightful. Plus, the way they are written, I think my lack of memory won't be a problem. They are funny, I love the characters and the mysteries.
Received 3rd from Netgalley.
All the Beautiful Lies - Peter Swanson
mystery/thriller about obsession, revenge and inappropriate stuff
This is my first book by this author, and I really didn't think I was going to end up liking it because it took me quite a bit to get into it. Then all of a sudden I was super into it and couldn't put it down. It was creepy AF. I don't normally read books like this so I don't know if it was actually good or if it just blew my mind because it's not my normal jam. 
Received copy from Edelweiss.
The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn
agoraphobic woman spying on her neighbours sees something she shouldn't
Another one that took me ages to get into, I think because these aren't my normal read, it takes me several chapters for them to get to unputdownable. But at about 25% things start happening and I finished it in one sitting. Again, because this isn't my normal kind of read, perhaps that's why it blew my mind and I didn't see anything coming? Don't know, don't care. The one thing I guessed was (highlight for spoiler) that her husband and daughter were dead, but I didn't guess the killer at all.

Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi
follows two half sisters and their descendants
Unpopular opinion alert. This is the book Gina and I decided on this time, and it's been on my list for ages. I've heard amazing things, I've borrowed it from the library 5 times and tried to start it like 27 times. I am glad I read it, I understand why it's popular and why people should read it, but that doesn't mean it was any easier for me to get through. It's an important book, absolutely, but it was not an enjoyable reading experience for me. I really struggled through it. Not because it wasn't written well or because it was too difficult to read, I enjoy difficult books, I like to feel all the emotions. I just did not connect with this one. 
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - Fredrik Backman
granny dies, granddaughter hands out letters to people granny wants to apologise to
Bloody hell this book took me forever and a day to get through. I started with the e-book and couldn't get into it, switched to the audio and it was much better, finished with the e-book because I wanted to finish before today and audio takes me a lot longer. This is a hard one to rate, on one hand it was excruciatingly boring at times, other times it was so emotional I cried. I think the storytelling within the story is what bored me, but the characters and their relationships gave me all the feels. So it was like 50/50. I loved Beartown but now I'm wary of his other books. I don't know.

Every Note Played - Lisa Genova
former piano player has ALS, ex wife takes care of him
I expected to be blown away by this, I've only read Still Alice but that was 3 years ago and I still think about it. This was fine, I didn't hate but, but it was missing whatever Still Alice had. 
Received copy from Netgalley.
The Upside of Falling Down - Rebekah Crane
only survivor of plane crash remembers nothing, so she escapes with a stranger
This was really cute. I enjoyed it about as much, maybe more, as Grover Cleveland. It was kind of fluffy and adorable, a light read with sprinkles of serious stuff.
Received copy from Netgalley.
Twist of Faith - Ellen J Green
girl's adoptive mother dies, she starts investigating her past and other deaths
I had a HUGE issue with this book and it ruined the entire book for me. There is a huge twist, and I would have been okay with the twist except for how the book was written. Hard to say without spoilers, but there is a difference between misleading your reader and surprising them with a twist vs sloppy writing that turns the misleading into tricking and straight up lying. Highlight if you want to know: the girl is the killer, but the story is told in first POV and she's asking questions she knows the answer to and investigating things she did - this is fine, except her thoughts are 'what is this, who did this' etc etc. If it were told in 3rd person POV, I would have been shocked as shit, instead I was pissed off.

Linking up with Steph & Jana.
Life According to Steph

If you're a romance fan, here are a few I enjoyed recently:

Gina and I are reading Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin before the next link up if you want to join us.

TL;DR - I recommend The Woman in the Window and probably Homegoing, even though I didn't personally love it, I still think it's important? I don't know.

Read anything decent lately?

Friday, April 6, 2018


Happy Friday everyone!

Thankful - This is something I need to work on, sometimes I get so bogged down with what I don't have and I'm not thankful for the things I do have. I take for granted little things that really aren't so little. So I'm just going to thankful-brain-dump: thankful for my cats even though they like to wake us up, thankful for KC even though he somehow uses 12 dishes for one meal, thankful for work even though I am sad because I am losing some of my favourite coworkers, thankful for good customer service, thankful for music, thankful for chapstick, thankful for books even though I've read some duds lately, thankful for the sun even though it's been colder than I'd like lately, thankful for food even though I eat too much of it, thankful for the gym even though I don't workout hard enough lately, thankful for real life and internet friends, thankful for blankets, thankful for some great news we got yesterday, thankful for cups of tea and alcohol (though not together because that would be weird). 

Thankful for new blinds, we've been meaning to replace the awful curtains the lady left behind but we've been doing it slowly and the kitchen just kept getting ignored. It's amazing how different it makes the entire room look. I don't have the best before photo, but I found one from during the renovation (which I am sure I will blog about in the next 10 years) because KC did it while I was at work one day. You get the idea.

Glad that today is the last day of spring break - yeah that may not be very nice of me but I really dislike when KC is off work. I mean, it's good because we get things done around the house or outside - though not so much this year because of the weather - but it throws off all the routines and I really don't like it. I like routines. So I'm glad he's going back to work next week, though I am not looking forward to him being off over summer. Talk about ruining routines. I really need to get over it and just deal with it, but why do that when I can complain instead. Kidding, kidding.

Ignoring the fact that I need to go swimsuit shopping - I want to, but I also don't want to. I wonder if I can just go back to wearing boardshorts and tank tops. I am using it as motivation to get to the gym, so maybe I should just get it over with. I'm thinking Target because it's easy and there - any other shops I should look at?

Favourite purchase - I mentioned this onion chopper back when I bought it last year, it broke a couple of weeks ago and I immediately purchased it again. It's $20, we use it at least twice a week, mainly for onions which we use a lot of, but sometimes other veggies like peppers. But mainly onions. It's definitely worth $20, I'm cranky it broke after 1 year but not cranky enough to not buy it again. I also realise it says lifetime warranty but I obviously didn't pursue that, just replaced it.

Anywho. That's all from me today. Nothing planned this weekend, thank goodness - last weekend we helped my mother in law move 2 hours away (2 hours in a u-haul on a very windy day, I don't recommend) and lifted lots of heavy things including a piano (did that one all by myself, lol jk as if) and have lots of bruises because I am not very smart when lifting heavy things. All that to say, very much looking forward to doing absolutely nothing.

So. Any miracle swimsuit shops I should know about? Perfect lighting? Full body spanx that looks like a bikini? Kidding, kidding. But not really.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

March 2018 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Good morning everyone! Time for another link up with... well, just me for now! Gretch is taking a break, maybe a short one, maybe a long term one, either way, I am too lazy to make a new button so just roll with me and my monthly recaps, yah?
What's New With You

I feel like March was busier than Jan and Feb, but I don't have that much to show for it.

KC and I hit up the St Paddy's parade like we try to each year, always a good time. We also had a celebration at work and I made baileys brownies (just a box mix using baileys in place of water, baker extraordinaire I am not).

Other things from the month - got a little red in my hair, ran outside a few times and even went to the gym, like twice. Went to our favourite Indian restaurant. Started Downton again, only to stop after Matthew and Mary got married because I just can't right now. Watched Annihilation, it was okay. The milk duds were better. It snowed because apparently spring hates us.

And some random photos of my kitties because why not. Penny loves to be as close to me as possible, Chelsea loves to look out a window she can't actually see anything out of and Millie likes to be a grumpy creep.

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

So that was March. Honestly, I've been spending every spare second I'm not asleep or at work with my head in a book. It's always been my coping mechanism, sometimes healthy, sometimes not so. Everything is fine, it's just even more fine with my head in a book.

I am still going to do this link up for the foreseeable future because it helps me show up here, not that I have to, but I want to and this link up helps. So thank you for linking up today, and in the past. I really appreciate it.

So, that's what's new with me.. nothing, really. What's new with you?

Monday, April 2, 2018

2018 - 4/12 - April Goals

Hi there! Hope everyone is well. I am so glad March is over, one step closer to summer. Which means soon we'll be opening the blinds and windows all the time, until KC declares it too hot to do so (rage). We have this storage bench thing that I put a basket on top of and the cats lay in it. It doesn't look very comfortable to me, but they seem to enjoy it.

March Goals:
- Read all netgalley books with published dates that have passed. 
Pass-ish - So close! I have 2 that were published in March. Other than that, I am caught up!

- No library books. 
Pass-ish - I didn't request any new books, but I had a couple come in that had been on hold for ages.

- Meal plan and stick to grocery budget. 
Fail - Let's try this again in April.

- Gym 3 times a week.
Fail - Ughhhhh

- Go back to kickboxing at least once.
Fail - my bad

- Try to limit book purchases to not at the library books only. 
Pass - We had a half price books gift card and I bought all books I could get at the library but they were $3 each and we didn't spend anything over the gift card so it totally doesn't count. I did look for books that my library didn't have, but HPB didn't have them either, so whatever. As for e-books, I didn't buy any that I could get at the library and I didn't buy any unless I used my no rush credits, so I'd say this is a pass.

- Catch up on blogs. 
Fail-ish - I did, and now I am behind again.

- Try one new recipe from a cookbook.
Fail - next month!

So wow, March was a huge failure goals wise, but onwards and upwards. Penny is judging me.

April Goals:
- Read all ARCs books with published dates that have passed. 
I have 2 netgalley books that were published in March and 2 that will be published in April. I also have 5 Edelweiss books that I should have counted in last month's goal, oops. So that's 9 ARCs I want to read in April.

- No library books except for book club book. 
Keeping this goal because I didn't make a big enough dent in my ridiculously overflowing kindle/bookshelves in March. 

- Cancel Kindle Unlimited & Audible, no book purchases.
I've cancelled my kindle unlimited membership already, but I have until April 16th to use it. I'll join up again in a couple months, but I need to take a break so I can work on books I own. I signed up to Audible a couple months ago for half price for 3 months, that ends April 13th, so I need to use those credits and cancel that for a little bit. I seriously have almost 25 audiobooks, and I don't listen to that many a year. Finally, do not buy any books Kristen, seriously, I don't care how good the deal is, save your no rush credits for May. NO BOOKS.

- Meal plan and stick to grocery budget. 
Instead of just trying the same things and it not working, I am trying something new in April. I will report back if it works.

- No solo eating out. No unnecessary spending.
My personal expenditure has gotten out of control lately, I was doing so well with bringing my lunch to work, but I have fallen off the wagon lately. 

- Gym 3 times a week/10,000 steps per day.
I have never really been one to care about 10k steps a day, but I need something that I can actually work towards and meet, so I'm going to try that.

- Go back to kickboxing at least once.
Self explanatory.

- Catch up on blogs and emails. 
Also self explanatory.

- Try one new recipe from a cookbook.
I have them all tabbed and ready to go. Just need to actually make one.

Okay, I think 9 goals is enough, don't want to push it considering I am fabulous at not accomplishing goals.

Also, just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 5th is the next What's New With You link up.

What's New With You

So I need to get back on the bring-my-lunch-to-work train. What is your favourite lunch to take to work? Easy, healthy, meal-preppable, affordable?