August to mid-September 2018 Wrap-Up: part 2 of 2 (books & movies/tv)

[Part 1 is HERE and recaps the needlework goings-on.]

BOOKS:  (These have been added to my Books Read page found HERE.)  

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) — Written from the points of view of a black nurse, a white supremacist, and a white public defender; racism is a central issue.  The kindle version I read contained an author’s note, which I was hoping it would, and a good bibliography.

Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman) — I’d read The Rules of Magic a few months ago, which was a prequel to this book but this book had been written first. For me, both books stand alone just fine; you don’t need to read one to enjoy the other. I did wish I’d not already seen the movie before reading this book.

Firefly Lane (Kristin Hannah) — The first part of this book had lots of “brings back memories” references for me from the 1970’s and 1980’s. This book left me feeling melancholy.

Calypso (David Sedaris) — Enjoyed this one.

Retire Inspired (Chris Hogan) — I actually didn’t finish this one, but am placing it on my list because I do want to come back to it as we move further along in our debt-free journey.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham) — This was interesting, although I suspect it would’ve worked better for me as an audiobook.

On Turpentine Lane (Elinor Lipman) — A light, fun read.

The Outsider (Stephen King) — I’m not a fan of crimes against children being a plot point, and this book starts off with a graphic one…and the details get brought up several times throughout the book. I opted to skim liberally in order to finish the story.

Labyrinth Lost (book 1) (Zoraida Cordova) — This fell into the “not for me right now” category. I did finish the book, but won’t be moving forward in the series right now.

Notes from a Blue Bike (Tsh Oxenreider) — An older book and I’m not the target demographic, but I like Tsh’s writing voice and did enjoy the book.

Magic Hour (Kristin Hannah) — I liked this one a lot. The plot was a step off the beaten path from what I usually read in fiction, and that was a nice change.

 

TV SERIES:

Secret City (S1) — I enjoyed this, although I did have to make a point to pay attention and not be fiddling with my phone at the same time ;-). It was a good show to watch while doing needlework. (netflix)

Sneaky Pete (S1 & S2) — I liked both seasons and will watch S3 when it’s released.  (amazon prime)

Great British Bake Off (2017) (aired on U.S. Netflix 2018) — Love. Love. Loved it!! I enjoyed the new judge and hosts, as well. (netflix)

Sisters (S1) — I enjoyed this. (netflix)

Madame Secretary — I  watch a few episodes then take a long break before going back again. I like the cast quite well; I’m just not always in the mood for a government-crisis-of-the-week show. (netflix)

 

MOVIES:

Captain Fantastic — Loved it. What a great cast. This is one I’d watch anytime I came across it on tv. (I think I watched this during a free weekend of Showtime via our Sling app)

Moana — Loved this one, too. The story was thoroughly enjoyable; the animation of the texture and movement of Moana’s and Maui’s hair was superb. (netflix)

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before — Also loved this one, and will absolutely watch it again. I’ve not read the books, and probably won’t since I enjoyed the movie so much. (netflix)

Victoria & Abdul — I love Dame Judi and thought she did a fantastic job of portraying the loneliness and isolation of being a queen. Wonderful cast. Beautiful scenery and costuming. (hulu)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri — I’ll watch most anything with Frances McDormand in it. Another great cast. (hulu)

Avengers: Infinity War — Whew! There was A LOT going on in this movie. I had planned to stitch while watching it, but found I missed too much if I looked away from the tv. For such a long movie, I thought the time went by quickly. I did end up googling for an explanation of the ending (I’m not a comic book reader nor am I otherwise immersed in the Marvel Universe). I’ll definitely watch this one again when it lands on netflix or amazon prime. (amazon rental)

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society — I enjoyed this movie; I’ve not read the book. (netflix)

 

PODCASTS:

Sorta Awesome Ep. 162 re: Self-Care, Self-Comfort, What’s Healthy, What’s Not — I don’t typically recommend specific podcast episodes, but this is one which, as I listened to it, I thought would be interesting and helpful to pretty much everyone I know.

 

WEIGHT- & DEBT-REDUCTION PROGRESS:

I’ve lost about one-third of the weight I’d like to lose, and have, since the end of July, been maintaining that loss within a pound or two. I’ve not been actively trying to decrease my loss further just yet; it’ll probably be another month or so before I’m ready to shift from maintaining back to losing.

This month we paid off our smallest debt and were also able to pay an additional amount on the next smallest debt, which felt great! I imagine it’ll take another month or two before we have our budgeting process tweaked to what works best for us.

 

RECENT FAVORITE SNAPSHOTS:

thunderheads

sisters

yellow rose

daisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2018 Wrap-Up

July was a low-output month in terms of stitching, reading, and watching. More about that later in this post =).

NEEDLEWORK:

After my cross-stitching frustration last month, I took a several week break from stitching anything. A little past mid-July, I unkitted the cross-stitch projects I’d previously kitted up, organized my floss, and looked to see what I had in the way of ready-to-stitch embroidery projects. I found two unstitched Cozy Blue Stitch Club designs, so started on this one:

IMG_20180803_143854_886

I’m using some DMC variegated floss, and, thus far, am sticking with simple, basic stitches. I may embellish . . . or I may not. I’m only stitching once or twice a week for an hour here and an hour there, so it’s slow-going. But I’m enjoying it!

 

BOOKS:  (These have been added to my Books Read page found HERE.)

Detective Sarah Alt series (Trudy Nan Boyce) —  I love this series! I especially liked the writing in the first book, Out of the Blue. The third book, The Policeman’s Daughter, is actually a prequel, even though it was released third. I read it after the first two books and did wonder if I would recommend reading it first, or reading the series in publication order, as I did —- normally I would prefer to read the prequel first, but in this instance I liked knowing what I knew about the characters’ future when I read the prequel.

Three Sisters, Three Queens (Philippa Gregory) — This was in my “you might like…” list from the library. This book is part of the lengthy “The Plantagenet & Tudor Novels” series, for which I found this reading-order list online. I found the novel interesting, especially the author’s note at the end. I would enjoy reading all the novels in the series, but would prefer to do so in chronological order; it’ll be quite an undertaking because I typically don’t find historical fiction to be a quick read.

Of Mess and Moxie (Jen Hatmaker) — (non-fiction) While I didn’t find everything in this book applicable/relatable to my life, all in all I enjoyed the author’s writing voice and her essays.

 

TV SERIES:

Killing Eve (S1) — Yay for Sandra Oh being in a series again!!! Bring on S2! (watched via BBC On-Demand)

Riverdale (S1 & S2) — Lots of familiar faces of all ages, along with some new-to-me faces. So much drama! I get a kick out of this show, and am glad to hear it received an order for S3.

 

WHAT’S NEW AROUND HERE—>2 THINGS:

Weight Watchers — At the tail-end of June, I read something that, for me, was the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to not taking proper care of my health. Long story short: the next day I opted to attend my local Weight Watchers, and I’ve been going strong on the program ever since.

This is not my first attempt at W.W., not by a long shot, but this time I discovered the plan has been revamped in a way I’m finding to be very positive. No more weighing or measuring or counting points for fruits, veggies, eggs, skinless chicken/turkey breast, fish, shellfish, legumes, lentils, or nonfat plain yogurt. Granted, portion sizes are still important, but not having to count points for the aforementioned healthy foods is very freeing and also results in me gravitating towards more of those items when hungry. More options in the form of zero-points foods equals less instances of being hungry (or hangry!). If I’m hungry it’s not because I’m out of points, it’s because I’m not getting off my behind and getting myself a snack or meal in a timely manner :P.

For me, the change in foods I eat actually isn’t that big; rather, I’ve cut waaaaay back on non-fruit sweets, I’m not defaulting to pasta/starchy foods out of laziness, and I’m eating better-balanced meals. But I’m not eating foods I’d rather not eat (beef, poultry), and I am still eating within the confines of which foods won’t trigger health flare-ups of one type or another (which means I’m still limited on which veggies/fruits/legumes/nuts/condiments I can eat, and anything containing vinegar, citric acid, MSG, sulfites, or nitrates is a big ole no-no). Prepared foods, prepackaged foods, and restaurant foods remain problematic for me health-wise and will trigger all kinds of no-fun flare-ups, but not being a regular consumer of those types of foods actually works in my favor for W.W. because I rarely am in the position of using my points for those types of items.

My cravings for sweets have diminished considerably, and my “eat the feelings/stress” moments are much farther-and-fewer between.  Progress, not perfection!! =)

I also rejoined the gym because, as my husband said, we’ll gladly pay $11/month to walk indoors in the air conditioning!! (The summer heat seems particularly brutal this year.) I’ve been enjoying the treadmill quite a lot . . . I just prop my Kindle on the treadmill and read and walk undisturbed for an hour =D. I’ve also been easing into some strength-training with dumbbells at home.

I’m very happy with the weight loss I’ve had thus far and with the health improvements I’m already noticing. My body, on the whole, is easier to move around. I can bend over and tie my shoes without it being uncomfortable. I had a decent stretch of weeks without health issue flare-ups, which isn’t something I’d experienced for a very long time prior to last month. I’ve not had brain fog AT ALL in the past five weeks, not even when the outdoor mold count was sky high and my ears and sinuses were verrrry cranky as a result…….still no brain fog —- I can’t describe how amazing that’s been!! I can walk on the treadmill for an hour and not be out of breath. I’m starting to see and feel the muscles in my legs and arms again, which makes me all kinds of happy!!

W.W. has a fantastic app now, which I’m loving. It’s used for tracking your food/points, but also has an expansive community comprised of members and leaders, which I find to be as important for my continued success as anything else I’m doing (including attending weekly local meetings, which are important to me). Any time of day or evening when I find myself needing a boost of motivation to keep on keepin’ on with developing better health habits, I pop over to the W.W. app and read posts by other members.

The gym, preparing meals for myself, and being in the W.W. Connect community are taking chunks of time that I used to spend stitching/reading/watching tv, so that’s why there aren’t much of any of those things in my July recap. I’m also making an effort to move more when I’m at home, instead of defaulting to sitting down. Closets and cabinets have been cleaned out and organized, and the fridge has been cleaned more thoroughly than it’s ever been cleaned :P. Don’t get me wrong, I can still park my rump on the couch and not move for a while(!!), but I’m trying to do less of that ;-).

(By the way, I’m purposely NOT mentioning numbers related to weight. I may mention these numbers when I reach my goal . . . or I may not. I prefer to use the number on the scale as just one of many tools in this journey — it’s not the be-all-to-end-all — so I’m not making it a focal point at this time.)

 

Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps — This is the other new thing that’s going on . . . my hubby and I are hard-core in debt-elimination mode. Interestingly, taking control of personal health and taking control of financial health have A LOT in common!! Being of an age where we see the financial and health struggles with which older loved ones are dealing has made us take a hard look at where we are . . . and think about where we want to be 10, 20, and (if we’re so lucky!) 30+ years down the road. I read Total Money Makeover, and watched 1 of the Financial Peace University dvds (which was the only one our library had), and I’ve gotten lots of good ideas from the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram. As with Weight Watchers, community support is positive and extremely motivating in the debt-free community.

 

FAVORITE SNAPSHOTS THIS MONTH:

IMG_20180803_121255_836

IMG_20180709_072009

IMG_20180725_065409_252

IMG_20180729_224657_578