Show Us Your Books – November Edition

 

It’s time for the monthly Show Us Your Books link-up with Life According to Steph and Jana Says! I only have two reviews this month – it was one of those where I’d start a library book, get distracted by too much work, and then it would expire when I was only half finished and I’d have to re-join the waiting list. But hey, better two than none!

 

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Goodreads * Amazon

Y’all, I cried listening to the intro to this. Who knew an entire year later would still feel like too soon? I teared up pretty much any time she mentioned blaming herself, letting people down. I learned that she considers the original kind of Goldfish crackers superior to the flavor blasted kind, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a platform I can get on board with.

This book is a pretty fascinating peek into what the whirlwind (or cluster….) campaign trail of 2016 was like from the inside. What she was thinking before stepping into the televised moments we saw, what she wish she’d said. It’s fairly long (I listened to the audiobook since she reads it), but it held my attention well for the most part. The chapter about Russia felt like it rambled on a little too long, but I can’t hold it against her. It must be nice to finally be able to say things without an orange idiot interrupting you with “Wrong.”

Listening to this was hard in that it stirred up a lot of anger and sadness and frustration that had dulled over the past year. It basically felt like reliving things I’d rather forget, but still a good read/listen. I can’t really say whether it was better than Hard Choices or not – they’re just too different.

 

Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

Goodreads * Amazon
I mostly read non-fiction, but I like to pick up a novel now and then when one catches my eye. The description for this book on NetGalley appealed to me, since as bloggers I think we’re all pretty familiar with just how different some people’s social media portrayals are from their reality:

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.

This was an enjoyable read – very much a beach read or a good airplane book. The plot is a little predictable in places, but still fun. I rarely say this, but I could’ve used an epilogue – a few too many loose ends for my taste.

 

Be sure to check out the link-up to see what dozens of other bloggers have been reading this month!

Friday Favorites – Late Night Posting

Happy Friday, everyone! This is going up so much later in the day than usual! I don’t know about you guys, but the time change has thrown me off all week. It’s been dark for so long; Is it midnight? Nope, just 6 pm! I submitted my invoice to my main writing client a little before 5 pm and then totally crashed for a much-needed multi-hour nap. Beats last Friday when things were too hectic to get a post up at all, I guess!

Here’s what I’m digging lately – a couple were supposed to be on last week’s list (oops), but c’est la vie.

 

1. Apparently its not a Friday Favs up in here without Target birds lately, so I might as well confess right up front that I picked up this little ornament guy ON HALLOWEEN. I am totally a “Can’t they at least wait til mid-November??” person, but I was afraid that if I didn’t grab one then they’d be gone, and I’ve missed out on a few super cute ones in the past thinking I’d just wait a couple of weeks.

 

The wintery birds didn’t really speak to me, btw.  Cute, but not must-have.

 

2. I’ve ridden horses pretty much my entire life, but I’ve hardly ever ridden English. I decided to try a new challenge (and make my poor leg muscles weep for mercy) and started taking Hunter/Jumper lessons! (No hunting involved, it’s just the style of jumping that focuses more on style, vs. show jumping which is about speed). I had my first lesson last week, and it went a little better than I expected. We mostly just worked on me getting used to the different saddle with balance exercises, and started building my leg strength holding jump position at a trot.

The horse I’m riding is SO TALL. If horse measurements mean anything to you, he’s 17.3 hh. If not, that means that his shoulder is level with the top of my head, and I’m 5’11. I think he’s the tallest horse I’ve ever ridden, unless I’m having some weird lapse in memory. I didn’t realize HOW big he is until I was dismounting and it took forever for my feet to reach the ground again. I forgot to ask my new trainer for a photo while I was riding, but I’ll get one next week!

I can only afford to do lessons every other week right now, so progress is probably going to be slow, but it’s fun to look forward to!

 

3. As you probably know, Chewy.com sends the cats two fun new things to try every month. (#ChewyInfluencer for the win!) I’m behind on sharing what they’ve been trying out – they got these awesome wet food trays by Nutro Wild Frontier the beginning of October!

 

I love these little split tray designs for those times when, for instance, Tennyson refuses to eat the food everyone else is digging into, or Bear is off doing bear stuff in the woods and is late for dinner, meaning I only need a meal for one instead of a big can. (Although TBH Ten will happily eat both sides of one of these tray in one go. How is he still so small?)

The package we got had six of the chicken flavor and six turkey & duck flavor, but it’s also available in a Chicken & Beef/Salmon and Trout package.

4. One Tribe Apparel sent me a really cute kimono several months ago, but with how crazy everything has been, I haven’t had a chance to take any good outfit photos to share it with you guys yet! (One major down side of solo travels – your selfies don’t capture much of your OOTD! You can see part of the kimono here, though!)

 

Unlike my other kimonos, this one is quite a bit longer, coming down to a few inches above my knees, which means it’d probably be at least knee-length on someone of average height. It was perfect for transitioning from summer to fall since it’s super light weight, and the pattern features enough colors that you can throw it on with almost any color of top and be good to go.

 

The color is listed on the website as red and black, but it’s really much more of a deep pink than red.

 

Image via One Tribe’s website. Love that it also comes in a gorgeous blue!

 

5. I’ve been taking breaks from writing to do some major house cleaning/decluttering, and I came across a couple of boxes of photos the other day. Behold, a cat lady in training:

 

Friday blog linkup

Friday Favs – Almost Halloween!

Happy Friday, friends!

Since last week was busy to the point that I didn’t have time for a normal work day until Friday, I’ve mostly spent this week trying to make up for it so that I can do fancy things like “afford electricity” and “not starve”. Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be freelance writers.

Next week is already getting filled up with interesting plans, so hopefully I’ll have fun stories to share in next Friday’s post! But that’s a whole week away, so let’s discuss what I’m into this week. No time like the present! (No day but today?)

 

1. Do you ever find yourself really into a song by an artist you don’t usually enjoy? I generally don’t like Taylor Swift (although her badassness during her recent sexual harassment case deserves applause), but I have been obsessed with this mash-up of Enchanted and Wildest Dreams for over two weeks now. I’m basically questioning my entire identity and going through an existential crisis as a result of somehow now being a person who listens to a TSwift song on repeat. WHO AM I? WHAT HAVE I BECOME?

 

2. Since we’ve been discussing Target birds ad nauseam lately, I had to share.. I FOUND A FALL BIRD AT WALMART.  He looks… displeased to be there. On the plus side, I think he was like $3.88 vs the $5 Target ones. Still, he looks like he’d cut you if you don’t heed to his wishes.

Why can’t I be at Target with all of the other decorative birds?

 

3. Best tweet I saw this week:

 

4. I finished all of the suite descriptions that I needed to hit my goal this week a solid TWO HOURS before the invoice was due. That deserves celebration given my usual last minute nature.

 

5. In honor of Halloween, here’s a roundup of amusing grave markers. Mine would obviously be #22:

 

In case you missed it, I posted about the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival at Silver Dollar City earlier this week!

Hope it’s still decently warm where you are! The temperatures had the audacity to get down in the 40s today, but thankfully next week is back to a more acceptable “cool but not miserable” range.

 

Friday blog linkup

Celebrating Fall at the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival at Silver Dollar City

I grew up in Branson, MO, so long days of water rides at Silver Dollar City were a fixture of my childhood summers. This was long before cell phones were a thing (except those giant Zach Morris phones that were bigger than your head), so it was a huge deal when my best friend and I were finally old enough to go off by ourselves for several hours at a time and then meet up with mom when it was time to go. The ultimate tween version of freedom!

It’s been several years since I’ve been to the 1800s themed park, so I was thrilled to be invited to visit and check out the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival, just one of many festivals and events offered at the park each year.

National Crafts & Cowboy Festival at Silver Dollar

Thanks to US Family Guide and Silver Dollar City for providing complimentary admission in exchange for sharing my experience with you guys!

My original plan was to arrive a little before the park opened at 10 a.m., but then Mother Nature was like, “Those are nice fall plans you have there. It would be a shame if anything… happened to them.”

Note the lovely temperatures the rest of the week. Boo-urns. Sadly that 67 degrees at 3 pm turned out to be an overly optimistic forecast. It never got above about 56.  Felt more like the Christmas festival than fall!

 

One Big Tip for Visiting Silver Dollar City: Arrive Early. To get the most out of your visit, plan on arriving Read more »

Fall Friday Favs

 

1. I picked up a new nail polish at Target and it’s pretty great. I’ve had mixed luck with Sinful Colors in the past, but this one made it almost a week with no chipping, so I’m a fan! (And it was $2) The color is called “Hush Money”.

 

2. I had a day this week where I got up and settled into my morning work routine as usual, and then decided NOPE. I need to get outside. So I went to a local hiking trail to take advantage of the beautiful fall day. (I want to fit in as much outdoorsy stuff as possible over the next few weeks before it gets cold!) The area I went to has multiple trails; I’ve done two of the shorter trails before, but this time I decided to add on an extra loop. The total trail I did was only a mile and a half, but OMG, y’all. A mile on flat ground is nothing, but a mile of trail that looks like this?

 

It was really pretty with all of the fall leaves changing colors…

 

And  gained a whole new appreciation for just how wonderful old wooden benches are.

 

And as usual, tree roots are the coolest thing ever. I love how these basically formed stair steps up the hill.

 

3. This month, Chewy.com sent my furry family a variety pack of Tiki Cat After Dark. I took the cans outside with a few other products that I wanted to photograph, and when I came back to the front porch after photographing something else, Captain Kitten was there yelling at me that he was VERY READY to review these, please and thank you.

“Use your opposable thumbs already, human!”

 

The cans contain quite a bit of broth, which my cats loved, and they come in unique flavors. (I’ve always thought it’s interesting that all of the cat food you see is turkey, chicken, fish, or beef – never any pork, but here one is!) I expected the Chicken & Quail Egg variety to look like the tuna and egg food I often buy – little specks of egg mixed in, but this had an entire half an egg inside!

I let Bear and Tennyson split this can and attempted to take pics, even though I know taking photos of black cats is basically the hardest thing ever. Outdoor pics will occasionally work, but anything inside? LOLNOPE. This sums up how THAT photo session went:

I’m probably the best photographer ever?

 

4. I made a VERY quick trip down to Eureka Springs again this week. It as originally supposed to be a leisurely two day trip, but it turned into one of those days where nothing goes as planned. Instead of leaving home around 10 a.m. like I’d planned, I didn’t get on the road until 1, and then my accommodations for the night fell through, so I set off for home around 5:30 to avoid driving the crazy twisty Arkansas roads after dark. Still, the entire trip was worth it just because I discovered a free parking lot. Most parking in town is $5 for 3 hours, but I stumbled upon a lot near the north end of town that’s not only free, but has a trolley stop! I didn’t want to buy trolley tickets for such a quick trip so I just walked and got to see an entire part of the city that I hadn’t explored yet.

It was a 3/4 mile walk to get to the historic downtown area, but thankfully it was like 70 degrees so it was an enjoyable stroll. (The entire city is mountain-y, so like my trail above, walking one mile feels like walking five anywhere else.)

A few pics from along the way:

 

It was so sad to see that this amazing little cottage doesn’t appear to be taken care of. Like most of the town, it probably dates back to somewhere between 1890-1910, so it broke my heart to see parts of it literally crumbling. Oh, to be wealthy and be able to buy it and restore it and use it as a little escape when I need a break from my everyday routine! I mean, that Juliet balcony is everything!

 

 

Almost every business downtown was decorated for Halloween. Very appropriate for a town with so many ghost stories!

This guy isn’t a Halloween decoration, he always lives in this gas lamp-lit alley next to a vintage undertaker’s sign.

 

5. This post is so long and I still have one spot left?? I guess that I will treat you to these lovely photos of a vintage knitting magazine I found at the library. I aspire to be this cool someday.

 

“Mom, I booked a magazine cover! This is going to skyrocket my career!”

“It was the most stylish threesome ever.”

This is what we did for fun before the internet, kids.

 

Happy Weekend!

 

Friday blog linkup