January 26, 2018

Links + Love (January 2018)...

I've known about this website for awhile now but had never actually browsed it until recently. I'll take one of everything please!

If I wasn't on a no shopping ban until April (more on that when I finally get my 2018 Goals post up...) this would already be on it's way to me. Maybe it will still be available in April?

Image result for shopping funny
Shopping bans are hard y'all. Things I would never have cared for before are all of a sudden so interesting to me just because I  know I can't (or shouldnt!) buy them. Never in my life have I cared to own a pair of booties but now I NEED them. Hopefully my willpower is strong enough to get me through the next two months...
This idea is genius. For less than $30 in supplies I now have curtains in my room that look nice and give me privacy to allow me to actually get dressed in my bedroom (I recently rearranged the room and took down the old blinds that were wrecked so I had gone without any window coverings for almost a week - not fun!). I didn't want to spend a fortune on curtains or blinds for a room that I won't be in for that much longer (hopefully) so this worked out perfect

I've heard (and read)  really good things about this product so I can't wait until I can get my hands on it to give it a whirl myself. Blow drying my hair currently takes around 15-20 minutes (so not fun!) so I definitely want to give it a try to see if it cuts down the time. 

My Fitbit bit the dust last year and I really miss the motivation that it gave me to make sure to reach 10,000 steps every day. I'm currently coveting the Alta (in rose gold) but I just can't fathom paying over $200 for it. Hopefully it will go on sale at some point!

I've been loving Greek flavouring lately so I'm definitely going to add this and this into my meal plan over the next few weeks. 

January 25, 2018

Photo Dump Thursday (January 2018)...

A few things before we get into the actual post: 

1) Yesterday marked exactly six months until I turn 31 and I'm having a really hard time accepting that. The idea of turning 31 is way harder for me to deal with than the idea of turning 30. I need to plan a vacation around my birthday so I at least have that to look forward to! The Blue Jays play the Twins in Toronto on my birthday so I've been trying to convince MN and my siblings that we NEED to go. So far no luck...

2) I still haven't finished my 2018 Goals post and it's almost the end of January. I just keep adding more and more things to the list! I need to get it posted so I don't end up with a super long list that I'll never actually accomplish because there are just too many things. Adding it to my to-do list for this weekend so I just get it done. 

3) My nephew's first birthday is in three weeks and I have NO idea what to get him. He doesn't need clothes (he got tons at Christmas) and doesn't need toys - so what do I get?! Is giving money at 1 the perfect age to give since they don't know what they're getting anyways? I know exactly what I'm going to get him for Christmas and his second birthday, it's just this birthday that I'm stumped for ideas - help!

Last Ten Photo Dump 

Last night's supper. Stuffed Peppers (inspired by this recipe - I tweak it just a tiny bit). Soooo delicious and super filling. There are tons of leftovers in the fridge now! 
We've had pretty mild temperatures (around -15) in SE SK the last few days and since we went through weeks of -40 to -50  temps it's been very much appreciated! The hoarfrost showed up on the weekend, making everything look SO beautiful, and it's still hanging around! 
I tried out this Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner on Sunday night (peppers were 10 for $10 at the Coop last week so I stocked up for this meal and the stuffed peppers from last night). I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I think next time I will put Greek seasoning over everything along with the marinade. 
Saturday night was my work Christmas party. We had drinks, ate supper, exchanged gifts, and played Cards Against Humanity. There were a few Cards Against Humanity newbies and I love playing with people who never have before just to see their reactions to some of the cards. I picked up the newest expansion pack at the beginning of the month so I now have every single card for the game! 
I took down Christmas on Saturday - everything except for the Christmas cards, those will stay up for awhile still. I would usually leave everything up a bit longer but this month has been a month of cleaning and organizing so I used my long weekend to get it (almost) all taken down and cleaned and rearranged my bedroom. 
I met up with friends in 'the city' last Thursday night for a belated Christmas get together. We had supper and exchanged gifts. We hadn't seen each other in awhile so it was a long supper - we were at the restaurant for over three hours just catching up. 
Babies in Snapchat filters - does it get any better than that?! 
Coincidentally, until this picture was taken last week the last time I got my hair trimmed was also the last time I did a Last Ten Photo Dump - back in September.  When I made my appointment for last week I thought I was doing really good at making it back to the salon for a trim in a decent time. Apparently 4 months isn't that decent... But considering I used to only get my hair trimmed once a year I'm still counting that as a win! 
These are the kind of pictures MN gets spammed with on a daily basis. If Krickit sleeps in bed with me I usually snap a picture of her in the morning when she's only half awake - resulting in this masterpiece. 
This candy. Y'all. So addicting and SO good. MN grabbed a bag while we were standing at the checkout line at Trader Joe's when I made him take me there to get Everything But the Bagel Seasoning and Hot Cocoa Stirring Spoons. I don't think the bag even lasted 24 hours. When he came to the GWN in December I had him bring three bags  - I gave two of them away so I had to ration the bag I kept for myself. They're finally all gone and I NEED more back in my life. 

January 17, 2018

Humpday Things...

This week is another week where I just can't keep up with what day it currently is. Yesterday felt like Friday to me - thankfully Friday is my EDO so I only have a 4 day workweek this week (hallelujah). After an 11 hour day yesterday because of meetings I am soooo ready for that earned day off. With my EDO coming up I have a three day weekend to look forward to and I'm really hoping I can finally cross everything off of my to do list so I can relax next weekend and not feel anxious that there's something that I should be doing. 

I had started this post last Thursday, planning for it to be a Five on Friday post, but since I never got around to finishing it I decided it would just be a brain dump of random things. You're welcome. 

ONE I found out (via Kallie's IG story last week) that I can watch episodes of Unsolved Mysteries now that I have (US) Amazon Prime and I am soooo excited! I've said for years that if the series ever came out on DVD I'd be first in line to purchase it. One of my favourite memories from my childhood is watching episodes of Unsolved Mysteries with my Mom. Mama Bear loves herself some true crime shows but Unsolved Mysteries is the only one I've ever gotten invested in. I can't wait to head to Minnesota in a few weeks and binge watch it (silly location restrictions keeping me from watching it now). 

TWO I've made $185 so far in January just from selling things I no longer use/have a need for on Facebook garage sale groups. If everything that I currently have on there would sell I would make an additional $412. And that's with some items still waiting to be posted! I just wish everything would sell as soon as I post them so I could finally get rid of all the stuff that's just sitting in one of the spare bedrooms. One of my goals for this year is to stay organized and make mindful purchases! 

THREE I purchased Pretty Baby at Wal-Mart last week and I can't wait to start reading it. They had it in the mass-market paperback version which isn't my favourite but is waaaay cheaper than most of the books I buy so I can't complain. I didn't even know this book existed until I was writing my 2017 Books post. She wrote my second favourite book of 2017 so I have high hopes for it.  I *think* I'm going to make myself wait to read it though so I have something to read on the train in a few weeks. 

FOUR Laura posted about this sheet pan dinner last week and I cannot wait to try it. I went to the grocery store the other day and *thought* that I bought all the ingredients... but I forgot the lemons soooo now I have to get back to the grocery store for lemons so I can finally try it. The grocery store (my hometown one anyways) is my least favourite place on earth so it might be awhile before I make it back there.

FIVE MN is a huge Vikings fan. Like, HUGE. We have the CFL in Canada (Go Riders!) so I never really paid any attention to the NFL before I met him.  However, I have said for years (waaay before I met MN) that if I were to choose an NFL team as 'my' team I would pick the Vikings - simply because they were Marshall Eriksen's team and HIMYM is my fav. Since we've been dating I've been 'forced' to watch some games and even though I wasn't with MN on Sunday I still watched the game, because they are now 'my' team more so than before because of MN's devotion to them (the Riders will still always be number one to me though...). Close to the end of the fourth quarter I was preparing myself for a very upset boyfriend. So imagine my surprise when the Vikings won the game with 10 seconds left. I think I was in shock for a good minute afterwards! I was excited for the outcome, don't get me wrong, but I think I was happiest that I wouldn't have a grumpy boyfriend -  I can't be the only one that ever feels this way (right?!). 

SIX I still have all of my Christmas decor up. I helped my Mom take her tree down on Saturday and that was sad enough for me, so I think my decor will stay up at least another few weeks. Last year I'm pretty sure it all came down just in time for Valentine's Day...

SEVEN Last March I had to pay over $500 for a part for my drivers side window so that it would roll up. So you can imagine how pissed I am that when I went to roll my window back up after going through the border a couple weeks ago that it wouldn't go back up. In -40 weather. I had to pull over on the side of the road and push it up with my hand - thank god that worked! So now I have to make a very angry phone call to my dealership to make an appointment to get this fixed because I did not pay $500 for it not to work. Adulting really sucks sometimes.

Happy Humpday!

January 10, 2018

Currently (January 2018)...

Happy Wednesday y'all! This is the first week in a month that I work a full five days so it has been rough (and it's only Wednesday morning!). Can we please go back to Christmas holidays? 

Since I'm driving the struggle bus this week I thought I'd go easy on myself and catch y'all up on what's currently happening in my life (these are some my favourite posts to read!). 


Reading Sharp Objects. I started it in December but then I bought my Mom A Stranger in the House for Christmas and she finished it just in time for me to take with me on the 29th as I headed to Minot to take the train to St.Paul so I ended up reading that before finishing Sharp Objects. I also recently started Unqualified. I usually prefer to read fiction but I had been stumped on what to get my SIL for Christmas and I knew that her and my brother like to listen to the Anna Faris is Unqualified podcast so I thought she might like the book. But then my Mom and I ran into 'the city' to do some last minute things before Christmas on the Friday before Christmas and I ended up finding the perfect gift for my SIL so the book ended up being a gift to myself. 

Listening to Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha feat. Florida Georgia Line and New Year's Day by Taylor Swift on repeat. They're my two new favourite finds. There's also still a little bit of Christmas music thrown into my days too...

Celebrating PAYING OFF MY SUV! Can you tell that I'm a little excited? I made my last full payment in November and then I only had $2.98 left owing and was waiting and waiting (and waiting!) for it to come out of my account in December, when my normal payment would have been taken out. It never did come out though and I was getting frustrated because I just wanted to be able to say she was finally mine and only mine. On December 29th I called into the company my loan was through (nothing like leaving it until the last possible minute) and was told that they just wrote off that final $2.98. So Eleanor is officially paid off and it feels ah-mazing to say that! We had some rough times last year but I'm confident that we can get through at least another 3-4 years together. I really hope so anyways because that will save me around $25,000 by not having to make vehicle payments. 

(Binge) Watching New Girl. It was finally added to Canadian Netflix at some point and I just realized it over the weekend. I had previously seen a few seasons when my sister had access to American Netflix so when I saw that it was available to me I turned it on while I was cleaning just to have something for background noise and I got sucked back into how good it is. I really do need to finish Stranger Things and Breaking Bad though...

Working on my 2018 Goals post and a 2017 Recap post. Hopefully I'll have both of those up next week. 

Drinking black coffee and water. I haven't had any iced tea since the weekend and it's killllling me. I initially was going to start the Whole30 on Monday but budget wise there is just no way I was going to be able to make that work in January (it is SO expensive to Whole30 y'all - trust me, I've done it 5 times now and it's left me broke as a joke me every single time!) so instead I'm logging everything with WeightWatchers and I don't want to waste points on drinks so coffee and water it is! I think I'll plan for a March Whole30 - there shouldn't be any events that interfere that month (I'll be done just in time for Easter) AND my wallet won't be so empty anymore (Christmas is expensive y'all...). 

Waiting for the weekend. As per usual. I do enjoy my job but I just love weekends and wish long weekends came around more often. But also more so than normal because of the whole not working a full work week in a month thing...

Wearing my favourite pair of activewear leggings from Old Navy, a long sleeve shirt that I've owned for at least 5 years, and a plaid scarf. Speaking of clothes, I need help y'all. MN is a groomsman in a wedding in a month and I have nothing to wear to a Winter wedding - I've never even been to one before (aside from one in Mexico) because everyone in this part of the GWN have Summer weddings. Should I get a long dress or a short dress to wear with tights? Also, the groomsman are wearing green vests with their tuxes so colourwise I'm limited in my options. HELP!

Anticipating my nephew's first birthday.  He'll be one (what?!) in a little over a month and I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around that. I've said it a million times already but I'll say it again - I cannot believe how fast the past year has flown by. Before I know it he'll be off to College!

Loving the new cookbook that I got for Christmas - I can't wait to start using it!  Now the only PW cookbook that I don't have is this one (adding it to my budget for Feb...). I loved every single gift that I got for Christmas - seriously, soooo much. 

Making all.the.lists to get things done this month. There's just something about the start of a new year that gets me fired up to get things accomplished. Cleaning, organzing, decluttering - seriously all the things. One of my Christmas gifts from MN's parents was a gift card to Target so I picked up a copy of A Simplified Life (so excited!) and can't wait to get started on it. I really hope that getting things organized this month will mean they stay organized from now on, making life so much simpler for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed!

What have you been up to so far in January?

January 9, 2018

2017 Books...

I read 30 books in 2017 y'all. Much better than 2016 (I think I maybe read 10 including the HP series? Working two jobs did not allow much time for reading) but still not as much as I would have liked. I used to breeze through 10 books a month, if not more. Obviously I now have more responsiblities so there isn't as much 'downtime' in my life but I'd still like to improve and spend more time doing what I love - reading. My goal for 2018 is to read 50 books (but hopefully more!). 

I kept a list of all the books I read in 2017 in the Notes app on my phone. Somewhere around April I thought about doing a monthly round-up but since I had already missed Jan-March I decided that for 2017 I would just do one big round up at the beginning of 2018 and starting in 2018 do a monthly round-up of what I'd read. I now realize this was a flawed plan because there just isn't enough time for me to write my thoughts on each book. So for 2018 I will definitely be aiming for monthly round ups (and linking up with Show Us Your Books!). 

January (4)

All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda *****
That Night - Chevy Stevens ***
The Lost Girls - Heather Young  ***
Those Girls - Chevy Stevens **

February (3)

Whispers - Lisa Jackson ***
The Girls in the Garden - Lisa Jewell **
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware ****

March (1)

After You - Jojo Moyes ***

April (2)

The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena ***
The Good Girl - Mary Kubica *****

May (3)

The Perfect Stranger - Megan Miranda ****
Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica ***
Gone Without a Trace - Mary Torjussen ****

June (2)

Into the Water - Paula Hawkins ****
The Bitter Season - Tami Hoag ***

July (3)

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Every Last Lie - Mary Kubica ****
The Safest Lies - Megan Miranda ***

August (4)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
The Lying Game - Ruth Ware ****
Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty ****

September (5)

In a Dark, Dark Wood - Ruth Ware ****
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling *Reread*
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling *Reread*

October (0)

November (2)

The Identicals - Elin Hilderbrand ****
Kiss Mommy Goodbye - Joy Fielding ***

December (1)

A Stranger in the House - Shari Lapena ****

My top three favourite books of 2017 
(not including any of the Harry Potter series because they're obviously always my favourite)
3. The Perfect Stranger 
2. The Good Girl 
1. All the Missing Girls 

The Perfect Stranger was the second book by Megan Miranda that I read in 2017 and two of her books made my top three. This book grabbed me from the beginning and I read it all in one sitting. Definitely recommend!

The Good Girl was the first book I ever read by Mary Kubica and I absolutely loved it. Could.not put it down. I'm usually pretty good at guessing endings but this one completely shocked me. Another book that will never leave my bookshelf. 

Coincidentally, the first book that I read in 2017 was also my favourite book of 2017. All the Missing Girls is told in reverse so I wasn't to sure about it when I first picked it up but obviously I loved it and would definitely read another book like that again. It's a book that will stay on my bookshelf forever and I will pick up again and again to reread. Actually, I think I might give it a go again pretty soon since it's been a year now...

As you can see from my list above, my favourite genres are thrillers and mystery/suspense. I also should note that every summer I do a Harry Potter series reread, so I'm guaranteed to read 7 books every year (and no, I don't think I'll ever stop this tradition). 

There were also a few books that I started in 2017 that I never got around to finishing, so finishing them is on the agenda for 2018. They include:

Big Little Lies. I'm not a huge fan of books that involve tons of characters and multiple storylines. I wanted to love this because of all the hype but I just couldn't make myself get through it. Hopefully in 2018 I'll be able to pick it back up and get into it to actually finish. 

Second Life. This is another book that I wanted to love because I loved Before I Go To Sleep SO much but I just couldn't get into it. 

Go Set a Watchman. Again, I wanted to love this book (even after all the controversy surrounding it) because To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite books of all time. But I just can't get into it. I've tried restarting it at least three times. Maybe 2018 is finally the year I can get through it?

Before I Fall. Y'all. I got halfway through this book before I realized that I'd already read it. In 2010 when it was first released. The movie came out last year so the book was re-released with a new cover for the movie and I thought it was a new book and purchased it again. I was sooo mad at myself when I realized. I didn't end up finishing it once I remembered the ending when I finally realized that I'd already read it. 

Sharp Objects. I started reading this in November while on the train to Minnesota and I'm about 1/4 of the way through - I just skipped ahead to a different book that I really wanted to read in December so didn't get a chance to finish it in 2017. 

Gone Girl. My sister gave me this book in 2015. 2015! And I'm still trying to get through it. I will finish it this year. I don't know why I can't get into to!

2017 brought Mary Kubica, Megan Miranda, Ruth Ware, and Shari Lapena into my life and now I NEED them to release new books asap so I have something new to read. I am desperate for some new book recommendations so please send them my way! 

Also, I just finally started using Goodreads so let's be friends!

Life According to Steph

Linking up (for the first time!) with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books