Book Review: The Invited

The InvitedThe Invited by Jennifer McMahon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, I love a good ghost story which means I adore Jennifer McMahon.

Secondly, is the main issue with the book. Nate and Helen leave the confines of urban sprawl for the freedom of backwoods Vermont where they intend to build a house. By themselves. Using YouTube videos. That bit of weirdness aside, the rest of the story is very compelling.

The story opens with the hanging of suspected witch, Hattie Breckenridge. Her story quickly intersects with Nate and Helen, a couple who drop everything to move onto a plot of 44-acres they snag at a deep discount from a man who is motivated and desperate to sell. Turns out, this haunted piece of land belongs to none other than Hattie. What ensues is a multi-generational ghost story and murder mystery that is nothing short of amazing.

Despite the mystery not being that mysterious, it was still a great story. The characters are engaging, the story is intriguing, and it’s just creepy enough to make you look over your shoulder after dark.

Book Review: The Library Book

The Library BookThe Library Book by Susan Orlean

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really gave this book 2.5/5 stars.

I love a good metaphor or simile and I enjoy some alliteration every now and then as well. However, Susan Orlean uses all three of the above in nearly every sentence of every paragraph on every page. It got to be a lot and it really impeded my ability to read the actual story.

The meat of the book, however, is interesting and enjoyable, though also a bit of a struggle to get through. At it’s core, The Library Book is about the history of the Los Angeles Central library as seen through the lens of the 1986 fire that destroyed the building and left nearly 700,000 books damaged or destroyed. Orlean often weaves multiple story lines together which can be difficult to track as we jump to the distant past to the present to the near past while also looking to the future. While the information itself is interesting, many readers might find themselves having to slog through the intense and ever-growing cast of characters, dates, and facts.

Overall, it was a struggle for me to finish. The last few chapters especially felt like they dragged on far too long as Orlean discussed conference after conference after conference and included details interesting to her but perhaps not to the casual reader. I learned a great deal but probably would not recommend this book to others.

That Time I Was on a Podcast

That time was last night!  Jessica McWilliams , host of Planner Lifestyle Podcast interviewed me last night. We talked Sims, planning, addiction, and more!  There’s even a couple of shout outs in there and I reveal the future of Eternally Yours. Have not listened to it so I probably sound ridiculous.

I was a little bit nervous so it’s entirely possible I sound ridiculous.  Thanks, Jess, for inviting me to nerd out with you!

First of the Month BuJo Update: May 2019

It’s that time again, friends!  A new month means new bullet journal spreads!  Let’s get right to it!

HAHA!  My photos aren’t crap this month!  They also aren’t super sleek like some bloggers but, hey, it’s the last week of grad school so we’re calling this good.

April Recap

April fell the fuck apart.  There is no other way to say it.  Between traveling for my kid’s spring break, a blizzard, and then coming down with that God-awful plague that everyone seemed to get April just never quite got off the ground.

My Line a Day page sums up the last half of the month pretty well.  I pretty much gave up on my meal tracker and line a day.  Most of my daily and weekly pages are empty.  I’m ok with that.  Before my PTSD diagnosis, I probably would have freaked out and tried to push myself to get every line and every box filled in but this time I just…didn’t?  And it felt freaking amazing!  To just say to myself “that can wait, you can’t” was a huge step in my healing process (I might be getting teary as I write this) and I’m so proud of myself for having a half-empty month.

Self-care BINGO was hit-and-miss.  I got a little too ambitious with some of my goals but I managed to get one BINGO which resulted in a trip to Starbucks.

Ok, on to the May update…

Theme:

Given my struggles in April, May’s theme got put on the back burner.  Ended up going with “Growth” because “April showers bring May flowers” was too much for me and Graduation was too…well gray and black.  I have a ton of green, leafy washi so we’ve got vines, and fields, and some flowers but not a ton.  Anyway, pretty pleased with how this came out.  Not perfect but I’m learning to let go of the perfection.

Spreads:

May starts off the same way as my other bujos: cover page, monthly, goals, and habits.  I wanted to try something new this month to give me a more holistic view of what’s going on in my life.

Being out of work since November, I’ve really had to crack down on my spending.  The budget tracker is back because it really is a godsend.  I still have some spending issues but I managed to spend less in April than I did in March so YAY!  I’m confident I can be even more proactive with my spending this month.

I’m still working on using my meal planner religiously.  I have another appointment with the dietitian this month so that’s a good motivator to be on top of my food.

Self-care BINGO is back!  I had a blast with it in April but like I said, I was too ambitious.  This month I revised some of my goals and just left a bunch blank until I can think of some good items to drop into the squares.

OMG — I will have time to read again in a week!  Maybe I will actually fill up my reading list for the month!?

Then we get back into my “normal” spreads.  I combined my Line A Day and Gratitude spreads into one journaling page.  I upped my creativity on my Currently recap by hand-drawing that sucker (there’s something to be said of the printable though).  Finally, my Wins/Losses page finishes the tracking spreads and we head into my weeklies and dailies.

Final Thoughts:

Avoid the plague.

Supplies for March:

  • Pilot Precise V5 Deco Collection Rolling Ball Pens
  • Pilot FriXion Ball Slim Retractable
  • Craft Smith™ Wonton In A Million™ Sticker Book, Budget 1
  • Craft Smith™ Sweet Kawaii Design™ Sticker Book, Home Life
  • Happy Planner, Farmhouse Stickers
  • Krissyanne Designs, Celebrate Life Stickers
  • Zebra Pen Mildliner

First of the Month BuJo Update: April 2019

It’s that time again, friends!  A newish month means new bullet journal spreads!  Let’s get right to it!

So again, we’ve got some lame photos in here because I was traveling the first week of April (hence why this is also posted on the 12th and not the 1st — oops) so everything was done in a hurry.  I mean, just last night I filled in my bills tracker so that’s where my life is at this month.

March Recap

March went mostly well.  The new meal tracker was pretty much a win and helped me see that I wasn’t eating enough snacks during the day.  Also, I was pretty lazy some days and didn’t even bother filling it in so it also helped me figure out that I’m still pretty much a lazy bum when it comes to using my Bujo every day.

My TV/Movie tracker was maybe not my best idea.  I don’t watch that much TV so I don’t really know what I was thinking.  Instead it was more of a tracker for TV shows that I already knew I liked (Golden Girls, anyone?) and ended up being mostly useless.  That page got scrapped this month but more on that later.

Finally, the book tracker.  Ugh.  That was a fail so I simplified that this month, too.

Ok, on to the April update…

Theme:

I discovered I had a bunch of washi and stickers that related to rain so this month is “April Showers” themed.  Stickers are from all over the place so they are hard to credit.  Please drop a comment if you want to know a specific one.  The little birds and rain clouds are from Michael’s and come from a $1 sticker pack they sold last year.  There’s lots of Happy Planner in there as well!

Spreads:

April starts off the same way as my other bujos: cover page, monthly, goals, and habits.  I wanted to try something new this month to give me a more holistic view of what’s going on in my life.

Being out of work since November, I’ve really had to crack down on my spending.  The budget and spending trackers I introduced last month were amazing.  They did help curb my sticker addiction but I realized I still buy waaaaaaay too much crap I don’t need.  They are back again this month as a reminder that I really don’t need that much craft paper (said no one ever)..

I’m still working on using my meal planner religiously.  So far I’ve already forgotten most of this week.  I’m off to a rocking start.

Because my Netflix/Hulu spread bombed and I was recently diagnosed with PTSD (more on that another time), I added a “Self-Care Bingo” spread to the mix.  I’m so bad at taking care of me, ya’ll.  Yet I regularly speak about the importance of self-care to others.  So I’m upping my game.  I haven’t quite figured out what my Bingo prize will be but I’m pretty sure it will be awesome (or maybe it will just be less stress which is also awesome).

My reading spread last month was…well, ambitious.  Was I ever going to read a bazillion books in a month?  No.  I simplified this month to make me feel less anxious about not reading all the books.  I also removed the section for tracking followers because that was far too tedious for my tiny time schedule.

Then we get back into my “normal” spreads.  I combined my Line A Day and Gratitude spreads into one journaling page.  I upped my creativity on my Currently recap by hand-drawing that sucker (there’s something to be said of the printable though).  Finally, my Wins/Losses page finishes the tracking spreads and we head into my weeklies and dailies.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not skilled at using my journal daily.  MUST GET BETTER!

Supplies for March:

  • Pilot Precise V5 Deco Collection Rolling Ball Pens
  • Pilot FriXion Ball Slim Retractable
  • Craft Smith™ Wonton In A Million™ Sticker Book, Budget 1
  • Craft Smith™ Sweet Kawaii Design™ Sticker Book, Home Life
  • Zebra Pen Mildliner