Monday, February 5, 2018

Monthly Mash-Up: January 2018

These days the majority of what I read online and/or see on the news makes me - to put it simply - sad. And because I don't want to dwell on that which brings me down (though I recognize the importance of staying informed about what's going on in my local community, in our country, and across the world), I have added a new category to my Monthly Mash-Up: Feeling Good About. Each month I plan to include something that brought a smile to my face, made me laugh, lifted my spirits, inspired me, and/or gave me hope. Check out my first installment at the end of this post!

I didn't take on anything new in December or January. This decision turned out to a blessing in disguise, because if I had committed to a project in January, illness would have kept me from making my deadline.

I did, however, have a validating experience for a writer: I came across something I had written (well, something in which something I had written was included) for sale in Barnes & Noble. No, I didn't author a novel, but coming across my article while standing in the bookstore's magazine section felt pretty darn good. I almost showed the man standing next to me, but thought better of it and texted pictures to my mom instead.

I almost didn't finish this book in time to include it in this month's mash-up because I misplaced it for a good two weeks. Thankfully I found it with three days to spare, both with regard to the month and the book's library due date.

I heard Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire called a "portal fantasy" deserving of a place next to Lewis Caroll and C.S. Lewis' classics on the shelves, and McGuire's bio describes her as an author of urban fantasy and "darker fiction". I don't generally care for fantasy or science fiction, so I should have processed this information in a way that led to me putting the book back...for some reason, however, I chose to check it out from the library anyway. It was a quick and easy read but seemed somehow incomplete - parts of the plot could and probably should have received more attention and expansion. I didn't love the story, but I also didn't completely hate it; if you enjoy the literary categories listed above, give this novel a try!

Friends and I caught Pitch Perfect 3 at the beginning of the month, and while I enjoyed the movie, it fell short of both the first and second installments...probably because the Green Bay Packers weren't invited to participate.

Hallie and I finished the third season of Fuller House. The show dishes up just as much cheese as Full House did 30 years ago, but I LOVE it. And I couldn't be happier that Netflix just committed to a fourth season.

Listening To
I stumbled upon The Trio on Facebook, and now I can't stop listening to these three young women nail song after song. They have beautiful voices and incredible harmonies - check out this one (the National Anthem) and this one (an 80s medley) to start.

I haven't had the opportunity to see The Greatest Showman yet (😩), but I know that when I finally see it in the theatre or On Demand in a couple of months, I will LOVE it. A musical theatre fan since before I can remember and a Hugh Jackman fan since he starred in Kate & Leopold with Meg Ryan in 2001, everything about The Greatest Showman has my name written all over it. Until that day comes, I am watching...and watching...and watching these two videos on repeat and trying not to cry every time.

I don't actually own this cat-in-a-bag carrier yet, but I will soon - I honestly think this would make taking Tux to the vet easier!

I also intend to purchase one of these phone cases. A friend has one and LOVES it, and while I liked the Casetify phone case I bought a few months back, its clear plastic looks dingy now and no matter what I do/use, I can't get it to look new again.

It took us four years, but my friend, Rebecca, and I finally made shirts to wear while we ran the 4th Grade Variety Show. (Bless her heart, Rebecca took on this project completely on her own while I was suffering from the flu.) Aren't they fun?!

I didn't purchase any new clothing pieces in January, however I did try something related to clothing that I thought I'd share. While cleaning out my closet, I pulled quite a few pieces that I thought I might sell better online rather than at a garage sale. I didn't particularly want to take pictures and post everything myself, so I decided to try ThreadUp - the "world's largest online secondhand shopping destination". I can't yet report on the process through to completion, but I can say that it was incredibly easy to request, fill, and return one of their bags. Hopefully I can provide more information - on my payout - by the end of next month, and I'll keep you posted!

I cooked very little in January (you know, the flu - I sound like a broken record 😂) but I did start off the month indulging in a few Wisconsin favorites. Not all of these treats can be found everywhere, but if you come across any of them while grocery shopping, consider them highly recommended!
Jolly Good soda
Hamel Isthmus wine
Merkt's cheese spread 
I think I have this story correct... The wine above came from a winery in California, the older owners of which grew up in my parents' house. My parents' next-door neighbors happened to visit the winery (knowing nothing about this connection), asked about the Wisconsin Badger on the bottle, and eventually learned of this crazy connection. 

Feeling Good About
We Dine Together: "uniting & empowering individuals to create inclusive environments through the belief that long-lasting relationships are built over the table".

Sounds grown-up, right? Nope. This organization was started by high school students in Boca Raton and has spread to additional high schools across the country. Watch the video at the end of this story - it'll give you hope for our future generations.

What's new and interesting in your world this month?

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