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  • Archive for the ‘Memes’ Category

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    santaforest
    Remember when he was just a baby???

    Thu. | Dec. 22 – I Love … December #AMonthofFaves2016 – Favorite holiday festivities, favorite ornaments, home decor, places to go, holiday drinks, holiday eats, holiday themed reads

    I have a love/hate relationship with December. It’s the darkest month, it’s cold, it’s busy—but for all of that, it is a time to huddle up in the evenings and a time to think over the previous year and ponder the coming year. My kind of December involves mostly wearing pants of some kind but also short-sleeved shirts; a temperature that’s mild with maybe a couple of cooler nights here and there. I actually prefer it to be overcast on Christmas if it isn’t going to be snowing (snow is only when I’m in DFW, elsewhere—Houston or Florida—it is/was never the case) because overcast and a slightly cool temperature makes the day cozier and more fitting for lounging around all day in pyjamas and stuffing ourselves with food. Otherwise 50s at night and 60s or 70s in the day is my ideal December weather.

    Holiday festivities are becoming more fun as Forest is now becoming a kid who can understand it all so I am working to incorporate some more traditions. We bought a Christmas tree once or twice when lived in Melbourne, FL back in 2002-2004 but we never bought one again until 2014 and we had Forest. There are several Christmas tree farms in the greater Houston area and one is just a few miles from our house. Our custom for 2014 and 2015 was to go and cut down our own from the farm but this year the weekends were wonky with bad weather the first weekend in December and a trip out of town the second weekend. Leaving it any later wouldn’t have been nearly as nice to enjoy the tree for the holidays. So, this year Chris bought one from Lowe’s and that’s what we had for the year.

    My mom is the holiday treat maker in the family and usually busts out a variety of waist expanding goodies: puppy chow, toffee, cookies (sometimes), caramel, peanut butter balls (sometimes), are among her usual baked treats at Christmas. This year I made cut-out sugar cookies with Forest and we had a lot of fun! He likes Play-Doh and I think he was under the impression it was kind of like that but he didn’t quite use the cookie cutters all that well so it was mostly a watch-mom-do-it affair. It was fun, though!

    As for other foodstuffs at the holidays Christmas always seems to be the holiday for finger foods with maybe a main dish of ham and a few sides. I’m thinking of doing something similar this year—have the ham and a bunch of little finger foods. I’m a fan of the ham and mustard crescent roll pinwheels, sausage and cheese balls, Rotel dip, and maybe some King’s Hawaiian bread paired with the ham. There might need to be a veggie in there.

    As for what our house looks like this year, we keep the Christmas tree upstairs in the family room/play room because that’s where we have the space so most of the decorations are upstairs. Chris bought fake greenery and lights for the staircase and that makes it look a little more decorated downstairs. I keep a few other decorations downstairs but for the most part it is pretty sparse downstairs. One of these years we will get our act together and put some lights up on the fence out by the right-of-way and maybe do something down on the dock over the pond.

    I did a little digging in my archives and found this post from 2009 with some thoughts about Christmas at that point in my life. 2009 seems like yesterday but it’s now 7 years ago.

    How about you? What are some traditions or favorites for December and the holidays that you have?

    Tue. | Dec. 20 – 5 Must Haves for Winter Survival – shout out your favorite brand or stores or favorite items

    • Lotion: I don’t know about you but my hands are super sensitive to winter’s dry air, even here in humid SE Texas. I have two lotions that I alternate between at home, one is a homemade concoction that my mom made based on a recipe I sent her that uses coconut oil, cocoa butter, and essential oil, and the other is a run-of-the-mill scented variety from Bath and Body Works. I use the latter in the mornings before work and the former at night and whenever my hands are extra dry. I’m not a fan of a lot of ‘lotions’ and prefer the body butter types because they are more moisturizing but I’m trying to use what I have on hand for the most part. It takes me forever to use bath products.
    • Long socks: I am a fan of knee high socks under my pants in the winter. It’s just an extra layer of warmth and it makes you feel a little cozy even if you are going to work. If I’m feeling fun I wear funky socks that are colored or even the toe socks. My funky socks need to be replenished, though, because I’ve worn them so much they are getting holes.
    • Outdoor Research Earband: I bought this almost two years ago for outdoor activities when it is cold (or when it is 60* and windy, because sensitive ears) and I love, love, love it. Keeps my ears from hurting and adds warmth at the same time.
    • Fleece: I brought out the big leather jacket on Monday but that’s because it was in the 20s that morning and I was going to a business event and didn’t think layering two fleece jackets would be appropriate. I rotate between two fleece jackets: one I got a few Christmases ago from my parents that is more of an around the house/yard work/office fleece and my other fleece I wore on the AT/FT and keep it mostly for hiking and camping unless the other fleece is stuck in the wash.
    • Herbal tea: Hot tea is only a winter drink, usually, for me and it is always nice to have a sip of something warm in the afternoon or evening that isn’t caffeinated.

    Wed. | Dec. 21 – Keep It! 5 Purchases That Were Totally Worth It #IRegretNothing #AMonthofFaves 2016 – what did you buy this year – big or small – that you love, bought more of, got your monies worth

    • Avalon Organics Intense Defense Vitamin C Renewel Cream: I’ve never found a night face cream that I liked and hadn’t tried one in awhile but I think I’ve found the one I like in this one.
    • Lemonade by Beyonce: I buy just a few CDs every year and this one made the cut. Excellent lyrics, excellent music, excellent everything.
    • Cheap pens: I can’t even tell you what kind of pens they are but they are ‘fancy’ and from Dollar General. I like them because the ink comes out liquid-like, they write well, and last a long time.
    • The Florida Trail by Sandra Friend and John Keatley: A little pricey because it was published by their small press, Watula Press, however it was worth the investment. This was a beautiful book covering the Florida Trail and its history and it is a little piece of my other home.
    • Dark Chocolate Cocoa KIND Breakfast bars and Nature’s Bakery Brownie Bars: The first is a wonderful breakfast bar or snack and the second is a great afternoon snack when you want a little chocolate.

    Thu. | Dec. 15 – 5 Fave “New to Me” Author Discoveries or Audiobook Narrations This Year #AMonthofFaves2016

    I read a lot of new authors this year but I think Roxane Gay goes down as an author to follow from here on out. Bad Feminist was my first book of hers to read and I suspect not my last. She has another non-fiction book and several fiction books out, including the soon to be released Difficult Women. I think Roxane will be on my to-read list for years to come.

    Mon. | Dec. 19 – Reading Outside My Comfort Zone #AMonthofFaves2016 – Surprise Find(s) This Year

    At one point this year I was looking for an easy read and downloaded a light romance novel Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts. I’ve read romance here and there over the years and at one point really liked them but I think I’ve become a bit of a book snob in later years. Or maybe it was just this book, but I couldn’t muster up the energy to finish it before it was due back into Overdrive. It isn’t that I necessarily dislike romance novels but maybe I need something with more substance? Also, this one was kind of dated; lots of references to early 00s culture which probably didn’t help. I’m not eschewing romance novels but I think I’ll be pickier about them in the future.

    Audiobooks themselves were outside my comfort zone and will definitely be on my radar to imbibe in more next year. I don’t think I strayed too far outside my normal reading range this year.

    Throw me something that isn’t non-fiction, historical fiction, or the hottest new release that I should check out!

    Day 6: Wed. | Dec. 14 – Best Changes We Made This Year #AMonthofFaves2016 – to your Day / Life / Routines / Blog / Habits
    Yeah, yeah, I’m behind. I got sick last week and then got busy so I need to play catch up!

    Forest has been in the family for over two years now and I still feel like I’m trying to adjust my life and routine. It seems every few months there’s a slight change with his development which alters our ability to do something, usually for the better, and then there’s another shift. It’s always subtle, like my ability to cook and bake more because he needs a little less supervision and isn’t constantly needing me to hover over him. That said, I still haven’t found my rhythm to make time for everything I would like to do.

    If there’s one thing I see consistently from many people (namely women) post-kid is that sometimes we can be more productive than before we had children. Sure, I’ve lost several hours in my day for things that I previously would have been able to do things but somehow I manage to squish in things that I want to do—most days at least. There has been a lot of prioritizing and me realizing I enjoy doing a lot of different things but needing to focus on one thing at a time—or maybe two things—is about all I can do. Parsing them out throughout the days is also something I’ve had to develop. Maybe I read during Forest’s bedtime and I write a bunch of blogs up on weekends. Or I spend a few hours once or twice a week in the evenings processing photos so I can wrote those blogs out on the weekends. Lunchtime is where I’ve had to co-opt a lot of my time, where I’ve spent time doing a lot of my gardening or working out, depending on the season. For more than half of this year it has been the gardening hour. Once I quit the gym at lunch and dedicated my ‘hour’—read: about 40 minutes, subtracting out time to drive to and from work plus time to shower if needed—I realized that’s what I needed to do to get anything done. I wish I had the luxury to lounge on all of those lunch hours but I don’t. Sometimes they are used for errands and rarely are they used to dilly dally—maybe more so in winter than anything. Even then, I can figure out something else I need to do, chores or creatively, during that hour.

    I wish I could become a morning person, someone who can just jump up and get going with the day. While I have become accustomed to waking up earlier than I used to and enjoy these morning hours more, I still need time to wake up, drink coffee and move slowly. It’s why my goals for morning workouts continue to stall. I know morning workouts would solve a lot of time issues but it is a difficult challenge to overcome. Maybe this will go on my list of things to be better about this coming year, managing morning hours during the work week more efficiently.

    While I guess I have made strides on many fronts in day to day life I don’t think I’m at the level that I need to be for things to click just a little better. This post is a bit of a brainstorm, I suppose, on what I need to work on for next year. I’ve realized over the years that a lot of my hobbies and interests are seasonal and I should play into that more. I also rely on how I feel to motivate me versus pushing through much of the time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    I think I’ll refrain from going on further but I can see myself turning this into a post about next year and that’s coming soon. How about you, what positive life hacks or changes have you made this year?

    Day 6: Mon. | Dec. 12 – The Most Unique, Weird or Most Memorable Book(s) Read This Year – not necessarily your favorite book because it could be memorable for how bad or how much you liked or disliked the characters.

    Most Unique/Interesting
    Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout: I wrote about this book in the August book report this year and I think I can put it down as one of the more unique books I read this year. I still do not like Olive, maybe liked her more in her later years, and I hated how she/(the author) said ‘Ayuh’, which is apparently a Down East Maine thing to say. It was annoying. Maybe it translates well when spoken but reading it gave me twitches. The book was unique because of the stories within the story, the perspectives over the years; it gave me ideas for my own writing—some future writing.

    The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer: Also in the August book report was my review of this book and it goes down as the best audiobook listen as well as the most unique. Amanda’s narration plus her use of music interspersed throughout was perfect. I can’t imagine reading the book any other way.

    Day 7: Tue. | Dec. 13 – 5 Books on Our Winter Reading List #AMonthofFaves2016 – which books are your must read this winter?

    This is what I’m currently in the middle of or about to start:

    On a Farther Shore by William Souder: I grabbed this from Overdrive a week ago; it’s a biography of Rachel Carson. While I have Silent Spring and The Edge of the Sea on my bookshelf, I have never read them. Yes, I’m a bad environmentalist. And honestly, while I knew a few basic things about her, this book has shed quite a bit of light into her life before Silent Spring. I’m about 55% done with the audiobook and it is an easy listen. I will definitely be reading her books next year.

    Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield: Welcome to another Jane Austen book reinvented! This is Pride & Prejudice in America circa present day. I first heard about this on the What Should I Read Next? podcast and put it in my queue on Overdrive. It recently came up and I’m only 10% into it (a Kindle read) but it isn’t bad. I am starting become a little weary of all of the P&P reboots, though I don’t mind post or pre P&P stories such as Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife but the remixes are hit and miss. Update: Since I started drafting this post last week I have managed to get about 75% through the book over the weekend due to a car trip. I’ll elaborate more later this month but I am loving this adaptation so much! There’s enough changed to the story for it not to feel tired and sloppily written.

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Another ‘must-read’ book by the podcast above and just about everyone who reads on the blogsphere, so it also came available last week. As soon as I finished Eligible I’ve got to launch into this one.

    Aside from books I’ve got a stack of magazines to read! What’s on your winter reading list?

    Day 5: #WeekendReading {Picking Favorites} – Let’s support each other by sharing our faves from other #AMonthofFaves participant blogs, eg. your favorite posts, a book added to your reading list, or a blogger you just discovered

    This will be a mix of favorites and just plain must-reads!

    Favorite Blogs
    As I was going through my sorted blogs on Bloglovin’ I am realizing that so many of my ‘Must Reads’ never update any more. It’s terribly disappointing!

    +6512 and Growing: I found this blog a few years ago while blog hopping and have loved it ever since. The writer is from Durango, Colorado and typically posts once a week with a wonderful story that somehow usually manages to involve parenting, gardening, and being outdoors. Rachel writes about peaceful parenting and empathy and always reminds you that there is a better way.
    +Julie Zickefoose: A mix of natural history, art, and regular ol’ life, I love Julie’s blog because she can weave a story into just about anything—and she has a fantastic sense of humor!
    +Growing with Plants: I came across this blog via another favorite, Gayla Trail’s You Grow Girl, a few years ago and love it for the fact that this guy is a hardcore plant enthusiast. I would love to have the collection he has! He’s a fairly regular updater and always has something interesting to say and shows tons of plants I’ve never even heard of.

    Favorite Podcasts
    Ok, so this is reading for your ears! Hi, I’m Misti and I’m a podcast addict!

    +The Popcast with Knox and Jamie: This is a recent addition to my feed in the last few months and it is oh so delicious in the form of frivolous ear candy. These two have a great dynamic and discuss just about anything pop culture. If you need a break from any of the self development or political podcasts, take a deep dive into this one!
    +Matrimoney: Chris and Kelsey podcast twice a month discussing their money from budgeting, purchases, planning for the future as well as little side notes from their life. They are pretty transparent about how much they make, spending, and pros and cons of various things they are doing with their money.
    +The Girl Next Door: The same Kelsey in the podcast above hosts another podcast with her next door neighbor and friend Erica and discuss all sorts of friendship and neighborly items. They start the podcast off with a cocktail which is something fun to listen to as I’m not a cocktail drinker.
    +One Bad Mother: If you ever need to commiserate with someone about the woes of parenting, Biz and Theresa are the two that will be your shoulder to lean on. Their Memorial and Labor Day Spectacular episodes are some of the bests because other moms are calling in to talk about their parenting geniuses and failures as well as rants and you can just about identify with all of them. I don’t listen to every episode but it is one of my favorites.
    +Root Simple: This is the audio companion to the blog, as the host Eric likes to say. They are a simple living, gardening, DIY blog and podcast. Currently on hiatus due to Kelly’s recent and sudden heart surgery—details on their blog.
    +Pantsuit Politics: I found this one a few weeks before the election and really love it as it showcases both a Republican and Democrat woman discussing their take on weekly politics. FTR the Republican, Beth, did not vote for Voldemort and was ready to vote for Hillary until Evan McMullin came into play. An overall balanced podcast!
    +Slate’s Trumpcast: I avoided this one post election but now I kind of wish I hadn’t because it looks like they were pushing the red warning alarm that others weren’t picking up on. Dip into this one because I think we’re about to face some seriously troubling times.

    Particular Episodes
    +Outside’s interview with Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell: I have a very heavy heart about the upcoming landscape regarding the environment and the state of our public lands under a Voldemort administration and this interview almost brought me to tears. It was good to have someone with a diverse background (O&G and outdoor enthusiast knowledge with her leadership at REI) in this position.
    +Rage Phase episode from Call Your Girlfriend: This was the post election episode and while I listen to this podcast here and there, this episode reminded me to come back and listen more often.
    +Post Election Action Plan from the Edit Your Life Podcast. It also has a list of action items and newsletters to subscribe to keep you up to date with what’s going on with the new administration.
    +Foodscaping and Community Building with Brie Arthur on the Native Plant Podcast
    +Martha Stewart on Radio Cherry Bombe: Martha sounded so down to earth in this episode…loved it!

    Favorite Newsletters
    Newsletters are taking off this year it seems. Here are a few I’ve subscribed to and have loved!
    +The Popcast Newsletter: Knox puts together the newsletter and he does a fabulous job of finding the best reads and interesting tidbits of news in popular culture for the week. Put this one on your list!
    +The Girl Next Door Podcast Newsletter: They recently started their newsletter so I don’t have a ton to say about it yet but so far they’ve put together some interesting links and recipes to share!
    +Hollywood Housewife/Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts: I did not really follow Laura’s blog when she was writing it but did follow her on Twitter and only recently joined her newsletter, which she sends once a month. So far it has been interesting with the latest one being a holiday extravaganza of favorites.
    +Paul Jarvis’ Sunday Dispatches: Paul usually provides a thoughtful post each week on the topics of creativity, simple living, and minimalism, among others.

    Post-Election Must-Reads
    A month out from the election and I’m definitely not into the acceptance stage of the grief cycle yet. I still bounce between anger, bargaining, and depression and the occasional denial where I zone out and think Is this real life? I might move to acceptance when I hear the word impeachment uttered by Congress. I’ve tried to write post-election posts a few times but have stopped. I think I will use this spot for some interesting things I’ve read over the last month.
    +Autocracy: Rules for Surival by Masha Gessen on the New York Review of Books. I admit, the first few days after the election I was definitely thinking, nah, autocracy? Not gonna happen…but this last month, watching what comes out on Twitter and the media from him and his surrogates—not to mention his actions? Yep. I can buy it. Eyes open, people. This isn’t the only article or person discussing this, multiple journalists and historians familiar with autocracies worldwide are very uneasy.
    +How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour
    +We Elected a Climate Denier. Now What? from Katie Boué
    +After the Election: What you need to know about the public land heist
    +Fannie Lou Hamer’s testimony at the 1964 DNC Conference

    And a non-election kinda-sorta political read, Boomtown, Floodtown a joint investigation with Pro Publica and the Texas Tribune about the Greater Houston area and its increasing flood problems in conjunction with unrestricted growth and impending climate change. It absolutely hits home for me having experienced several flood events since moving into our house in 2012.

    Whew, that was long…hope you didn’t get lost in links!

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