this is me {january 17}

One of my intentions for 2020 is to post to this blog every Friday.  There, I said it aloud. Oh boy! Already this appears like it’s going to be a challenge.  I’m writing this, Thursday, January 16th and I don’t have a clue what I want to say.  Or maybe the more accurate statement is that I want to say a lot of things, none of which are coherent or necessarily anything that you would want to read.

So when all else fails, I can always post a picture or a quote. I love quotes and this one pretty much sums up my internal struggle the past week.

 

I’m trying to make the best of it and the music that happens to be playing is kind of nice.  I am going to take a moment and enjoy it.

enjoy life…

P.S. I saw the quote/pic on Becky Glaze’s Instagram this week.  I featured her last year in one of my Enjoy Life Interviews.  If you haven’t read the interview, check it out and check out her Instagram here.  It’s full of good things.

quick lit – next page, please {best books of 2019 edition}

quick lit. best books 2019 

Last year, I selected the best books that I had read in 2018.  I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do a 2019 edition. Like last year, I am not going to cover every category.  I don’t read every genre. But I’m just going to highlight the ones that I read that had multiple selections that I loved.

Romance

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

Runner-Up: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

I do not read romance. But traveling back home from the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club Event in Winston-Salem last year, I plowed through a lot of What Should I Read Next podcast episodes, including Episode 203 where Emily Carter, a now-repentant book snob, confessed to giving romance novels a chance and loving them, especially in a particular time of life.  With the weather being gray and gloomy, I decided to brighten my reading experience.  Last year, I read fantasy. This year, it was romance.

I selected Anne’s pick for Emily, The Bromance Club. This book was so much fun.  The premise asks the question what would happen if men read these books as a guide to communicating and romancing their significant others.  In Lyssa’s books, the answer is hilariously effective. I cannot wait for the second one in the series.

With the success of Bromance Club, I started looking for more great romance books.  Bookish friends (who I met at the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club Retreat last year) recommended My Oxford Year. This was a romance novel that dealt with very serious theme. I am still processing this one – the sign of an excellent book for me.

Fiction

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Runner-Up: Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber

I read one book by Taylor Jenkins Reid a few years ago.  Then, wanting to read a book that everyone was talking about when everyone was talking about it, I bought Daisy Jones and the Six. I will definitely be rereading this one.  What Reid did was masterful.  I was tempted to Google Daisy Jones and the Six.  She made the characters so believeable.

Midnight at the Blackbird Café was an absolute delight.  I have selected it as a Rocket City Mom Book Club Pick in 2020.

Memoir & Autobiography

I Miss You When I Blink  by Mary Laura Philpott

Runner-Up: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl

Memoir/Autobiography and Nonfiction are what I generally read and I read quite a number of selections in this category.  But two have stood out. Save Me the Plums is an memoir that reads like a novel.  It was a real page-turner.  I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. And that’s saying something for a memoir.

Miss You When I Blink taught me the most this year and I read it twice – a couple of months apart. I selected it as a Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club pick. You can read my full review here.  Mary Laura joined us to discuss the book – one of my highlights of my year.

Nonfiction

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll

Guys! Mommy-Brain is a very real thing.  And as my year got busier and busier, I couldn’t keep track of it all. Enter The Bullet Journal Method, which has been described as “KonMari for your mind”. I have used the techniques in this book very successfully and return for a refresher every couple of months.

The Winners

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have decided to pick a fiction (including romance) winner and a non-fiction (including memoir/biography) winner. So there you have it.  My best books of 2019.

What was the best thing that you read last year?

enjoy life…

Per usual, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her Quick Lit posts.  Head over there if you hacing difficulty figuring out what to read.

what i’m into {november/december 2019}

What I'm Into Nov.Dec 2019

Last year was probably one of the most interesting of my entire life. So many things happened both good and not-so-good. At the end of the post I will link to my monthly recaps (January thru October). I missed November so we’ll discuss it here.

I intentionally ended the #shannanmoves exercise streak at day 202. When I started it, the Sunday before Memorial Day in May, I intended to participate in the Runner’s World Running Streak, in which I ran a mile every day, until July 4. I did. And kept going.  It turned into the #shannanmoves Streak. In November, I realized that I was becoming a slave to the streak, choosing to keep it going at all costs.  I don’t like to be addicted to anything so I ended it at day 202.  I had thought that it would be nice to have exercised half the year and I did that, exercising 57%. It has been a long time since I have felt this good about my body and my health.

In partnership with Snail on the Wall, the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club hosted Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Anne Bogel here in Huntsville on November 7th.  I have dreamed of having Anne in Huntsville since she wrote her first book, Reading People. And guess what? I was “In-Conversation” with her, meaning I was the one who interviewed her.  Upfront. In front of 70 people. I was excited. I was terrified. It turned out well.

Hubby and I attended two workshops at Apple about taking photos with the iPhone. These workshops are so informative. If you have an opportunity to take one, I guarantee that it will be worth your time. Hopefully, you guys will see some improvements in my photos.

Seasonal Affective Disorder got a grip on me though.  Even though I was expecting it, it always throws me off to struggle with my attitude, mood, and general lack of motivation.  I have been participating in my own social media break – one reason for my silence on this blog. I reduced my to-do list to the essentials and have been enjoying the time and space that it has afforded.

When I went to my regular counseling session in December, I was ranting. Then my counselor interrupted my rant to ask if I knew that I was being generally positive about my experiences and if that was a conscious effort on my part? I was astounded. I have been a worry-wort, a pessimist, and generally negative my entire life.  The glass is never half-full.  It is always about to run out of milk.

This serves me well in my job.  I am generally on top of every detail and prepare for most eventualities. This does not serve me well in life.  One cannot be on top of every detail and prepare for every eventuality.  One will go crazy.  I know I have.

But I was able to answer her honestly and say, “No. I was not initially making an effort to be positive.” She then uttered some of the best words I have heard all year. “Your overall mindset has changed.” This is HUGE for me! I don’t think it will always be this way – can a leopard change his spots and all.  But with effort, intentionality, and prayer, the meter can move in the other direction. Thank God!

In other news, it snowed. Lasted a day. But it was beautiful.

So, what were you into this past year? Did you learn anything or do anything that was the highlight of your year? Any plans for highlights in 2020?

Let me know, or post a link to your year-end overview in the comments. We do this every month (mostly. As I said, I missed November-insert sad face). We will do it again on Monday, February 3

enjoy life…

Past What I’m Into – Keeping Me Sane Posts