Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hello 2019

I have mentioned more than a time or two that 2017 and 2018 kicked my butt. Yes, good things happened in those 2 years, but I focused on the bad. What I've come to realise is that I need to stop letting the things that happen to me define my year (or week, month, life) and start actively trying to incorporate more positive things, focusing on the good things and not giving up when the going gets tough. Of course, there is something to be said for letting yourself feel what you feel, coping with bad things however you can. I don't want to ignore those things, but everything that happened in the last 2 years was out of my control. I can be sad and angry about those things, and I will, but I want to start focusing on the good things and the things I can control.

I love clean slates, goals and new years resolutions. In theory. I am great at not achieving them though, so I rarely make goals and I've given up on resolutions. But I love the idea of them. This year, I won't be making a resolution exactly but I have some thoughts on things I want to do in 2019 and goal-ish things that I am hoping will make for an all around happier year. I'm not going to feel bad if I don't tick them all off the list though, these are just ideas so that when I spiral out of control or feel sad, I have a go to list of things to get me out and back into happy. That's the idea, anyway.

This year, I want to become a more positive, happier person. I had a lot of ideas but I think everything comes back to this, really. Here are some ideas to achieve this:
  • practice gratitude
  • smile and laugh more
  • donate my time and money to things I care about
  • surround myself with people I love
  • cut out toxic people where possible
  • baby steps meditation
  • turn negative thoughts into something actionable
  • work on not judging people unfairly
  • soak up sunshine
  • dance more
  • DNF books I'm not enjoying
  • read books I already own
  • make home improvements, even small ones
  • small trips, maybe road trips, maybe flights
  • go to concerts and sporting events
  • try new recipes
  • call my family more
  • eat healthy
  • exercise to feel better
  • play with my cats
  • take care with my appearance
  • spend less
  • save more
  • do new and fun things often

I am not telling myself I need to do all of these things every day, every week or every month. They are just ideas, things I want to work on, things I know make me a happier person because they've done them in the past. 

Of course, if I had a 'goal' this year, it would be to get pregnant, but that's out of my control really and I can't put as much focus or pressure on it as I did last year. Emotionally, it was just too hard.

Even though I want to be a more positive, happier person, I do not mean I want to ignore the bad things or bury them under so many good things that they aren't so bad anymore. No, I want to allow myself to grieve, to just survive sometimes when getting out of bed is too hard, to be angry and bitter and allow myself all of the feelings. But I just don't want to wallow or ignore the good things while I am busy being sad and angry. That's what my list is for. When I am sad or angry, I might not feel like dancing, but looking forward to a small road trip or concert with friends will lift my spirits. Spending less, saving more will relieve stress I always feel, eating healthy and exercising regularly will make me feel good and help me sleep, which will, again, make me feel good. That's the goal anyway.

I'm going to try and do monthly goals again, though for January my goal is to just survive, recharge and feel whatever I want to feel. February can be when I start focusing on specific things.

Cheers to 2019, hope it is a good year for you! Me too of course.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Books Lately

First Show Us Your Books in 2019 with Steph & Jana!

Becoming - Michelle Obama
the amazingness that is michelle obama
Goodness gracious, I love Michelle Obama even more now. I knew almost nothing about her past and had no idea she was so fascinating. She's done so much! Such an interesting person and a fabulous storyteller. I cried several times, but I'm emotional. I had to switch to the ebook part way through to make sure I finished before book club, but the audio was one of the best I've ever listened to. Basically she's fabulous. There were definitely times it was a teensy bit boring or it felt really long and a bit of a slog, but I can't rate it anything less than 5 stars.

Kingdom of Ash - Sarah J Maas
final book in throne of glass series
I started this series back in 2015 and I rarely stick with a series if all the books aren't out and I have to wait a year, let alone 3 to finish, but it was worth it. I'm glad to finally know everything that happened, though I'm sure more than a few things went over my head because I couldn't remember small details. I do wish it wasn't so long, I struggled until about 25% and then it became unputdownable - and that's almost 250 pages in. Basically, I recommend if you're a fan of the series, in which case, you've probably already read it.
Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier
psychological crime thriller
Holy messed up book, batman. Seriously. I got chills several times reading this. Now, sometimes when I read a book like this, I think maybe this isn't that good, I'm just easily impressed because it's not my usual genre... but I don't think so in this case. It's messed up and crazy, creepy and nasty. Definitely unputdownable, I didn't guess a single thing. I highly recommend if you like messed up books.
A Dangerous Collaboration - Deanna Raybourn
fourth in veronica speedwell series
I thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 in this series and couldn't wait for this one. It didn't disappoint, in fact, it's easily my favourite of the series. If you've read them, then yes, this one stuff *finally* happens, but on top of that, it's so well written, interesting and just freaking delightful. I love this series and highly recommend - there's just one left I think, 2020 hurry up.
Received from Netgalley.
Uprooted - Naomi Novik
fantasy mixed with fairytale, evil wood, no actual dragons
This has been on my TBR for 3 years, so my expectations were high. I liked it, but I didn't love it. It wasn't quite what I expected. It started out with a bang and I was super into it, the middle was a bit of a slog and started going in strange directions, then it seems to get back on track and wraps up nicely. The writing was great, the world building top notch, I was interested and liked the characters... but something was missing for me. Maybe it was because the middle was a serious struggle, maybe because it was different from what I was expecting. Also, you'd think I would never say this, but no romance is better than a lacklustre unnecessary romance. It sounds like I hated it, I really didn't, it just wasn't what I expected at all.
A Slice of Magic - AG Mayes
I tried, I really did. But one of my book related goals this year is to DNF when I'm not feeling it. I didn't like the characters, didn't believe the plot, could not handle the writing... all telling, zero showing. At 20% I was skimming and barely retaining anything, and what's the point in that? I hate DNFing because I feel like I wasted my time, but it's more of a waste of time to keep forcing myself. So, bye.
Received from Netgalley.
Luna and the Lie - Mariana Zapata
I've not been quiet about my love for MZ, Winnipeg is one of my faves of all time and I have enjoyed her other books. So I had super high expectations for this one and was prepared to be blown away. I'm still getting my feelings together and don't know if I'd recommend this one except to those who are already MZ fans. It's a little too slow. Not bad, just doesn't compare to her others. I don't mind the slow burn, but you need the other stuff to make up for the slow burn. I wanted more heart warming adorable stuff and I don't feel like I got that. Overall, I liked it but didn't love it.
Three Little Words - Jenny Holiday
Not my favourite of the series but still adorable and enjoyable. The heroine in this one was a bit frustrating and hard to like at times, but eventually she mellows out or we start to understand her better. It was well written, funny and cute - everything I've come to expect from this author, though the first is still hands down my favourite.
Received from Netgalley.
How the Dukes Stole Christmas - Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan & Joanna Shupe
This was such a fun collection of short stories/novellas - they were all connected, kind of. I liked or loved the first three, the fourth I could take or leave but it wasn't horrible. I don't normally like christmas specific books but because these were all short and historical (different time periods), they weren't super in your face and I really liked them.
Muffin Top - Avery Flynn
I know this series/author is getting a bit of flack because she's writing about characters that aren't conventionally beautiful or whatever, like the first heroine in Butterface was, you know, a but-her-face and this one is a bigger girl. I do get people saying 'everyone is beautiful' and all that, but it gets a bit old reading about the same perfect gorgeous heroines every single time, especially in romance books. So I think the author is handling these sensitive topics really well, in a funny realistic way. I love her writing, her characters, everything. Her books are adorable and so enjoyable, definitely recommend if you like lighter rom-com style books.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend Becoming, Jar of Hearts and the Veronica Speedwell series. I really can't recommend the Veronica Speedwell series enough - Heather described them as historical kind of cozy mysteries and I think that hits the nail on the head. Yes, there's a smidgen of romance, but seriously, it's a teensy tiny smidgen, you'll barely notice it. Much recommend. Bloody delightful.

Read anything decent lately?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Goodbye 2018

2017 wasn't the best year and I had high hopes for 2018. Unfortunately, 2018 shit all over 2017 and now I have high hopes for 2019. But more on me and my attitude about 2019 another day.

I didn't do a yearly recap for 2017 but I wanted to for 2018. I know these aren't the most exciting things to read but I love looking back, so this is mostly for me.

2018 was the year of reading for me. I read so much, I read more than I ever have in my life. I read more books in 2018 than I read in 2016 and 2017 combined. Insane, right? I read every spare second. I sacrificed a lot of my other responsibilities and hobbies though. I exercised/went to the gym less than I have since I was 18, I gained more weight than I have since I was in my early twenties. I saw my friends the least I ever have, we didn't travel as much as we have in previous years. I rarely blogged or posted on social media. I slept less, neglected my house, hardly watched any TV or movies, hardly spoke to my family. None of those are good things, of course, just sharing how I read so much - I neglected almost everything else in my life. Yes, it was a coping mechanism, but I am hoping to read less and do more of everything else in 2019. But again, more on 2019 another day.

Something I will mention about 2019 is that I am trying to be more positive. I'm going through some stuff right now that even the most positive person would whinge about. That's okay. I am allowed to cry and be sad, but I need to try and not wallow as much. So, one of the ways I am going to try and do that is not beat a dead horse and focus on the bad things of 2018 in this post. We had some TTC ups and downs, my dog and my nana died, we were in a car accident. That wraps up the worst things of 2018, lets now focus on the good.

6 year anniversary of moving to america, wedding show, book club, impromptu dinner with girlfriends, pinots palette with work friends.

Birthday celebrations - dinners, cooking classes, masquerade balls and a board and brush class. Gifts from around the globe. I always feel extra loved in February.

Red hair and St Paddy's day fun.

Finally got some nice weather to hang out in the sunroom and outside, travelled to see KC's family for a wedding, KY derby mini.

KC's brother got married, grilled outside a bunch, did a bunch of little house projects.

Went to Cincinnati and Ikea with my girlfriends, went to a German festival and travelled again to see KC's family and attend another wedding.

Vegas anniversary trip! Shania twain concert. Oral surgery and braces... okay not exactly a 'good' thing, but I've wanted to sort my teeth out for years so it's a good step in the right direction.

Birthday celebrations for friends and KC, yard work, soccer games and work outings. Four n twenty came to the 'ville and I got 48 meat pies. They are all long gone. Met Ilona Andrews!

World fest, Downs after Dark and finishing up on some house projects we started in May. Oops.

Baking adventures, gifts from Heather, craft nights.

Hanson! More yard work. Liane Moriarty!!

New fridge and new basement door! I get really excited about improvements we make to the house, no matter how small. Book club white elephant and allens lollies. Yum.

And with that, I say goodbye 2018. You were probably - definitely - the worst year of my adult life and I am glad to see you go. But looking back, there were lots of good things I am thankful for and it's nice to remind myself of them.  Here's to many more ups and downs in the coming years.

Hope everyone had a great 2018 and I wish you all the best for 2019!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

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

Hello all, time for another what's new with you link up! Thanks again if you join me, I always appreciate it. You don't have to display the button if you don't want to, but don't forget to mention it somewhere in your post and check out some of the other posts! I'll be doing a monthly recap like I do every month.

Grab button for What's New With You
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December was a very quiet month over here. I'm not big on christmas, so we didn't put our tree up until christmas eve. I wanted to take it down christmas day, but KC made me wait a few days. We didn't do a whole lot of christmas related things either, only went to one dinner and two family get togethers. It was a very stress free December - well, holiday stress wise.

We bought a new fridge in November, but it didn't arrive until December. I heart it.

We replaced the basement door and installed a little kitty door so the cats can go in and out.

We spent a lot of time in the basement this month, doing a lot of cleaning, organising and getting rid of things the previous owner left behind or things we didn't use/need (like the laundry chute and a bunch of wood shelves that were falling apart). It's still a bit of a mess, but we'll get there. The carpet on the stairs is atrocious, the flooring needs to be replaced, bunch of other random things we need to do, but it's just not a priority right now, so we're just doing little bits by little bits.

Other random cat photos - Penny is not good at sharing, the cats not trusting the basement (we've lived here a year and a half so they were very confused about suddenly being allowed into a whole new area), and Penny and Millie on the same piece of furniture and not trying to kill each other. It needed to be documented.

Went to book club and we did a white elephant type thing - with little descriptions on the outside. That was fun, I kinda want to do it every month. Mine says 'self aware sociopath seeks sneaky revenge' which is Jane Doe, if you're interested.

We got a roomba for christmas, very exciting. I also got some allens lollies from home, I ate half of them in one go and felt so sick it was ridiculous. So the next day I ate the rest and felt sick again. I'm so smart.

I read a lot of books, as always, played the sims, watched Bird Box and started Mrs Maisel (very funny, really enjoying it). I think I went to the gym once. I'll be joining all the new years resolutioners in January after I've healed from my latest medical procedure.

New years eve was super quiet, we were going to hang out with KC's brother & wife, but neither of us wanted to be around people so we just stayed home. I watched Taylor Swift's netflix thing.

Other than that, I had more medical shit and doctors appointments, and some really bad news. Again, not trying to be vague, just still dealing with it and once I am coping a bit better, I will share.

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

Inlinkz Link Party

I have another medical thing today so I won't be online at all. I will hopefully get to everyone's links tomorrow.

So, what's new with you?