January 10, 2018

Currently (January 2018)...

Happy Wednesday y'all! This is the first week in a month that I work a full five days so it has been rough (and it's only Wednesday morning!). Can we please go back to Christmas holidays? 

Since I'm driving the struggle bus this week I thought I'd go easy on myself and catch y'all up on what's currently happening in my life (these are some my favourite posts to read!). 


Reading Sharp Objects. I started it in December but then I bought my Mom A Stranger in the House for Christmas and she finished it just in time for me to take with me on the 29th as I headed to Minot to take the train to St.Paul so I ended up reading that before finishing Sharp Objects. I also recently started Unqualified. I usually prefer to read fiction but I had been stumped on what to get my SIL for Christmas and I knew that her and my brother like to listen to the Anna Faris is Unqualified podcast so I thought she might like the book. But then my Mom and I ran into 'the city' to do some last minute things before Christmas on the Friday before Christmas and I ended up finding the perfect gift for my SIL so the book ended up being a gift to myself. 

Listening to Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha feat. Florida Georgia Line and New Year's Day by Taylor Swift on repeat. They're my two new favourite finds. There's also still a little bit of Christmas music thrown into my days too...

Celebrating PAYING OFF MY SUV! Can you tell that I'm a little excited? I made my last full payment in November and then I only had $2.98 left owing and was waiting and waiting (and waiting!) for it to come out of my account in December, when my normal payment would have been taken out. It never did come out though and I was getting frustrated because I just wanted to be able to say she was finally mine and only mine. On December 29th I called into the company my loan was through (nothing like leaving it until the last possible minute) and was told that they just wrote off that final $2.98. So Eleanor is officially paid off and it feels ah-mazing to say that! We had some rough times last year but I'm confident that we can get through at least another 3-4 years together. I really hope so anyways because that will save me around $25,000 by not having to make vehicle payments. 

(Binge) Watching New Girl. It was finally added to Canadian Netflix at some point and I just realized it over the weekend. I had previously seen a few seasons when my sister had access to American Netflix so when I saw that it was available to me I turned it on while I was cleaning just to have something for background noise and I got sucked back into how good it is. I really do need to finish Stranger Things and Breaking Bad though...

Working on my 2018 Goals post and a 2017 Recap post. Hopefully I'll have both of those up next week. 

Drinking black coffee and water. I haven't had any iced tea since the weekend and it's killllling me. I initially was going to start the Whole30 on Monday but budget wise there is just no way I was going to be able to make that work in January (it is SO expensive to Whole30 y'all - trust me, I've done it 5 times now and it's left me broke as a joke me every single time!) so instead I'm logging everything with WeightWatchers and I don't want to waste points on drinks so coffee and water it is! I think I'll plan for a March Whole30 - there shouldn't be any events that interfere that month (I'll be done just in time for Easter) AND my wallet won't be so empty anymore (Christmas is expensive y'all...). 

Waiting for the weekend. As per usual. I do enjoy my job but I just love weekends and wish long weekends came around more often. But also more so than normal because of the whole not working a full work week in a month thing...

Wearing my favourite pair of activewear leggings from Old Navy, a long sleeve shirt that I've owned for at least 5 years, and a plaid scarf. Speaking of clothes, I need help y'all. MN is a groomsman in a wedding in a month and I have nothing to wear to a Winter wedding - I've never even been to one before (aside from one in Mexico) because everyone in this part of the GWN have Summer weddings. Should I get a long dress or a short dress to wear with tights? Also, the groomsman are wearing green vests with their tuxes so colourwise I'm limited in my options. HELP!

Anticipating my nephew's first birthday.  He'll be one (what?!) in a little over a month and I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around that. I've said it a million times already but I'll say it again - I cannot believe how fast the past year has flown by. Before I know it he'll be off to College!

Loving the new cookbook that I got for Christmas - I can't wait to start using it!  Now the only PW cookbook that I don't have is this one (adding it to my budget for Feb...). I loved every single gift that I got for Christmas - seriously, soooo much. 

Making all.the.lists to get things done this month. There's just something about the start of a new year that gets me fired up to get things accomplished. Cleaning, organzing, decluttering - seriously all the things. One of my Christmas gifts from MN's parents was a gift card to Target so I picked up a copy of A Simplified Life (so excited!) and can't wait to get started on it. I really hope that getting things organized this month will mean they stay organized from now on, making life so much simpler for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed!

What have you been up to so far in January?

January 9, 2018

2017 Books...

I read 30 books in 2017 y'all. Much better than 2016 (I think I maybe read 10 including the HP series? Working two jobs did not allow much time for reading) but still not as much as I would have liked. I used to breeze through 10 books a month, if not more. Obviously I now have more responsiblities so there isn't as much 'downtime' in my life but I'd still like to improve and spend more time doing what I love - reading. My goal for 2018 is to read 50 books (but hopefully more!). 

I kept a list of all the books I read in 2017 in the Notes app on my phone. Somewhere around April I thought about doing a monthly round-up but since I had already missed Jan-March I decided that for 2017 I would just do one big round up at the beginning of 2018 and starting in 2018 do a monthly round-up of what I'd read. I now realize this was a flawed plan because there just isn't enough time for me to write my thoughts on each book. So for 2018 I will definitely be aiming for monthly round ups (and linking up with Show Us Your Books!). 

January (4)

All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda *****
That Night - Chevy Stevens ***
The Lost Girls - Heather Young  ***
Those Girls - Chevy Stevens **

February (3)

Whispers - Lisa Jackson ***
The Girls in the Garden - Lisa Jewell **
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware ****

March (1)

After You - Jojo Moyes ***

April (2)

The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena ***
The Good Girl - Mary Kubica *****

May (3)

The Perfect Stranger - Megan Miranda ****
Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica ***
Gone Without a Trace - Mary Torjussen ****

June (2)

Into the Water - Paula Hawkins ****
The Bitter Season - Tami Hoag ***

July (3)

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Every Last Lie - Mary Kubica ****
The Safest Lies - Megan Miranda ***

August (4)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
The Lying Game - Ruth Ware ****
Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty ****

September (5)

In a Dark, Dark Wood - Ruth Ware ****
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling *Reread*

October (0)

November (2)

The Identicals - Elin Hilderbrand ****
Kiss Mommy Goodbye - Joy Fielding ***

December (1)

A Stranger in the House - Shari Lapena ****

My top three favourite books of 2017 
(not including any of the Harry Potter series because they're obviously always my favourite)
3. The Perfect Stranger 
2. The Good Girl 
1. All the Missing Girls 

The Perfect Stranger was the second book by Megan Miranda that I read in 2017 and two of her books made my top three. This book grabbed me from the beginning and I read it all in one sitting. Definitely recommend!

The Good Girl was the first book I ever read by Mary Kubica and I absolutely loved it. Could.not put it down. I'm usually pretty good at guessing endings but this one completely shocked me. Another book that will never leave my bookshelf. 

Coincidentally, the first book that I read in 2017 was also my favourite book of 2017. All the Missing Girls is told in reverse so I wasn't to sure about it when I first picked it up but obviously I loved it and would definitely read another book like that again. It's a book that will stay on my bookshelf forever and I will pick up again and again to reread. Actually, I think I might give it a go again pretty soon since it's been a year now...

As you can see from my list above, my favourite genres are thrillers and mystery/suspense. I also should note that every summer I do a Harry Potter series reread, so I'm guaranteed to read 7 books every year (and no, I don't think I'll ever stop this tradition). 

There were also a few books that I started in 2017 that I never got around to finishing, so finishing them is on the agenda for 2018. They include:

Big Little Lies. I'm not a huge fan of books that involve tons of characters and multiple storylines. I wanted to love this because of all the hype but I just couldn't make myself get through it. Hopefully in 2018 I'll be able to pick it back up and get into it to actually finish. 

Second Life. This is another book that I wanted to love because I loved Before I Go To Sleep SO much but I just couldn't get into it. 

Go Set a Watchman. Again, I wanted to love this book (even after all the controversy surrounding it) because To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite books of all time. But I just can't get into it. I've tried restarting it at least three times. Maybe 2018 is finally the year I can get through it?

Before I Fall. Y'all. I got halfway through this book before I realized that I'd already read it. In 2010 when it was first released. The movie came out last year so the book was re-released with a new cover for the movie and I thought it was a new book and purchased it again. I was sooo mad at myself when I realized. I didn't end up finishing it once I remembered the ending when I finally realized that I'd already read it. 

Sharp Objects. I started reading this in November while on the train to Minnesota and I'm about 1/4 of the way through - I just skipped ahead to a different book that I really wanted to read in December so didn't get a chance to finish it in 2017. 

Gone Girl. My sister gave me this book in 2015. 2015! And I'm still trying to get through it. I will finish it this year. I don't know why I can't get into to!

2017 brought Mary Kubica, Megan Miranda, Ruth Ware, and Shari Lapena into my life and now I NEED them to release new books asap so I have something new to read. I am desperate for some new book recommendations so please send them my way! 

Also, I just finally started using Goodreads so let's be friends!

Life According to Steph

Linking up (for the first time!) with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books